to hate crimes
A resource guide for NGOs
in the OSCE region
Published by the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
Aleje Ujazdowskie 19
© OSCE/ODIHR 2009
All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may be freely used and
copied for educational and other non-commercial purposes, provided that any
such reproduction is accompanied by an acknowledgement of ODIHR as the
Designed by Nona Reuter
Printed in Poland by Poligrafus Andrzej Adamiak
to hate crimes
A resource guide for NGOs
in the OSCE region
Human Rights Defenders 13
The Resource Guide 13
Chapter 1: Key concepts and arguments 15
Hate Crimes: Understanding the Phenomenon 15
Hate-Motivated Incidents 16
Hate Crime and Hate Speech 17
Why Are Hate Crimes Different from Other Crimes? 17
Legal Perspectives 18
Hate Crime Laws 18
Arguments for Hate Crime Laws 19
Chapter 2: Recognizing hate crimes 21
Hate Crime Indicators 22
Mixed Motives 22
The Nature of the Violence 23
Chapter 3: Working with the criminal justice system 27
Responses of the Criminal Justice System 27
The Role of Police 27
Enforcement, Response and Prevention 28
Improving Community-Police Relations 29
Committees that Bridge the Police-Community Divide 30
NGOs and Police Training 31
Chapter 4: Data collection, monitoring and reporting 33
What official information is collected? 33
Obstacles to Obtaining Reliable Hate Crime Data 33
How Can NGOs Improve Recording of Hate Crimes? 36
Collecting Information on Hate Crimes 37
Monitoring Individual Cases 40
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 5
Chapter 5: NGOs Supporting victims 43
Helping Victims to Report Hate Crimes 43
Meeting with Victims: Listen, Validate, Refer 46
Taking Notes 47
Ensure Confidentiality 49
Preserve Physical Evidence 49
Overcome Language Barriers 49
Cultural Awareness 50
Community Outreach as Hate Crime Prevention 50
Chapter 6: Strategies to combat hate speech 53
Hate Speech and the Law 53
Hate Speech and Intolerance in Football 55
Hate on the Internet: What You Need to Know 55
What can NGOs do? 56
Chapter 7: The NGO role in raising awareness and lobbying 61
The Public Response to Hate Crimes: Involving the Community 61
Building Coalitions 65
Working With the Media 67
Education and Training 71
Chapter 8: NGO advocacy: an international framework 73
Inter-governmental Organizations 73
Treaty Monitoring Bodies 74
6 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
This resource guide was prepared by the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institu-
tions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and co-authored by Steve Wessler, Director of
the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence (United States).
ODHIR is grateful to all those who participated and generously contributed their
time to this project. Special thanks are extended to Stacy Burdett, of the Anti
Defamation League, and Michael McClintock, of Human Rights First (both in
the United States). The publication of this guide was made possible thanks to a
generous financial contribution by the government of France.
ODIHR would like to thank the following for their feedback and input at
roundtables where earlier drafts of the guide were presented and discussed:
Azad Ali, Muslim Safety Forum (United Kingdom); Aleksander Axelrod,
Tolerance Foundation (Russian Federation); Suzette Bonkhorst, International
Network Against Cyber Hate (Netherlands); Mohammed Boudjenane, Candian
Arab Federation (Canada); Ronald Eissens, Magenta Foundation (Netherlands);
Valentin Gonzales, Movimiento contra la Intolerancia (Spain); Maria Grjasnow,
Kulturburo Sachsen (Germany); Suresh Grover, The Monitoring Group (United
Kingdom); Anhelita Kamiska, Human rights Center Latvia (Latvia); Ivan
Kuzminovic, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia (Serbia); Paule
LeGendre, Human Rights First (United States); Christine Loudes, International
Lesbian and Gay Association-Europe (Belgium); Marian Mandache, Romani
CRISS (Romania); Larry Olomoofe, European Roma Rights Centre (Hungary);
Rafal Pankowski, Never Again/Collegium Civitas (Poland); Khatuna Tsitntsadze,
The Union"21 Century" (Georgia); Aleksander Verkhovsky, Centre for Information
and Analysis-SOVA, (Russian Federation); Kay Wendel, Opferperspektive e.V
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 7
Every year, thousands of people in the OSCE area are victims of violent manifes-
tations of intolerance. Individuals are threatened, insulted and attacked because
of their perceived affiliation with a group that shares a particular characteristic,
such as "race", language, religion or any other similar aspect. Cemeteries, reli-
gious buildings and memorials are desecrated because they are identified with
one or more of these groups.
Hate-motivated crimes and incidents have a stronger impact on victims than
"ordinary" crimes: They send a message to entire communities. The message is
that these communities should be denied the right to be part of society. Hate
crimes instil fear far beyond the boundaries of a municipality or state and, there-
fore, have the potential to escalate and lead to larger-scale conflicts.
In recognition of this phenomenon and the danger it poses, OSCE participat-
ing States have strengthened their commitments and developed instruments to
ensure a more robust and effective response in combating such crimes and inci-
dents. While acknowledging that the responsibility for combating hate crimes
lies primarily with state authorities, the OSCE has also recognized the crucial
role civil society can play in this endeavor.
Civil society has often been at the forefront of recognizing the early signs of and
fighting against intolerance and discrimination. Since civil society representa-
tives live in the midst of communities, they are able to witness acts of intoler-
ance before they are reported to the police; they can provide assistance to vic-
tims while the authorities have yet to set up appropriate mechanisms. Civil soci-
ety leaders have also often reminded state authorities of their duties to report
and respond to hate crimes and to protect everyone. In some states, civil society
has been instrumental in empowering communities to induce social change and
inspire legal reforms.
Supporting civil society in its efforts to combat discrimination and foster a cli-
mate of peace lies at the core of ODIHR's mandate. The ODIHR Resource Guide
on Preventing and Responding to Hate Crimes is thus part of a wider programme
aimed at supporting civil society to devise, develop and implement adequate
strategies against hate crimes. Hoping that this publication will become a stan-
dard reference, I encourage all users to send to ODIHR any feedback or informa-
tion they feel will benefit future editions.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 9
The publication of the ODIHR Resource Guide on Preventing and Responding
to Hate Crimes would not have been possible without the expertise civil society
has generously shared with ODIHR. I wish to thank warmly all those who have
contributed to the development of the Guide.
Ambassador Janez Lenarcic
Director of the OSCE Office for
Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
10 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Crimes motivated by prejudice, also known as hate crimes or bias crimes, occur
all over the world.
Respect and equal rights for all are necessary foundations to any stable soci-
ety. Crimes motivated by prejudice against people because of their identity are
incompatible with these values. For governments, hate crimes that go unchecked
pose a serious security challenge, as individual acts can spiral into civil unrest.
In the most extreme situations, they can lead to wars within and across national
Although the primary responsibility for preventing and punishing hate crimes
must lie with the state, NGOs have proven they have an important part to play in
breaking this cycle of violence.
This resource guide aims to assist NGOs working to prevent and respond to hate
crimes in the OSCE region by providing essential tools for their work in a simple
but comprehensive document.
The guide provides information on hate crimes in the OSCE region, measures by
governments and civil society to combat them, and examples of strategies that
NGOs have found useful and effective.
Hate crimes are destructive to both individual freedoms and community safety.
Where they go unpunished, hate crimes challenge the rule of law. Governments
have increasingly recognized that violent hate crimes can be a threat to inter-
national security and, to this end, the 56 OSCE participating States have made
numerous commitments to combat intolerance and discrimination.
The OSCE has given particular attention to hate crimes, on the grounds that
they are among the most dangerous manifestations of intolerance. The OSCE's
Ministerial Council has repeatedly reaffirmed the threat hate crimes pose to the
security of individuals and to social cohesion, as well as their potential to lead to
conflict and violence on a wider scale. 1
1 See, for example, OSCE Ministerial Council Decision No. 10/07, "Tolerance and Understanding, Pro-
moting Mutual Respect and Understanding", Madrid, 30 November 2007, <http://www.osce.org/documents/
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region n
The OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has
been tasked with supporting state and civil society actors in their efforts to pre-
vent and respond to hate crimes. 2 The unique geographical and political scope
of the OSCE enables ODIHR to bring together people and ideas from Europe,
Central Asia and North America. Increasingly, governments and civil society in
the OSCE region have worked in coalition to develop and implement a number
of groundbreaking efforts to combat hate crimes.
The role of ODIHR
ODIHR monitors and reports on hate crimes and responses in the OSCE region
as part of its mandate, with the goal of assisting participating States in respond-
ing more effectively to hate-motivated crimes and incidents. An annual report
is prepared on the basis of data submitted by participating States, international
organizations, NGOs and media reports. 3
ODIHR has developed programmes to assist participating States in combating
hate crimes more effectively. These range from undertaking workshops with gov-
ernment ministries responsible for data collection and criminal-justice matters,
to training law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, and providing teaching
materials for educators. Developing links with and supporting civil society orga-
nizations is an important element of this work. ODIHR has developed train-
ing programmes and other activities for the prevention and combating of hate
ODIHR also maintains two publicly accessible Internet resources. Legislation-
line 4 contains legislative resources from OSCE countries relating to areas of
ODIHR activities, including hate crimes. In addition, TANDIS, 5 the Tolerance
and Non-Discrimination Information System, provides easy access to informa-
tion on issues related to tolerance and non-discrimination throughout the OSCE
region. Both sites have English and Russian interfaces. Through TANDIS, NGOs
are able to submit information on hate crimes and incidents, as well as on civil
society and government initiatives. Many of the additional resources mentioned
in this guide can be found on TANDIS.
2 OSCE Ministerial Council, Decision No. 13/06, "Combatting Intolerance and Discrimination and Pro-
moting Mutual Respect and Understanding", Brussels, 5 December 2006, <http://www.osce.org/documents/
3 For the most-recent publications, see the ODIHR website at <http://www.osce.org/odihr/publications.
12 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Although the primary responsibility to combat hate crimes lies with local and
national authorities, NGO action can be decisive in convincing governments to
address hate crimes and in guiding their response.
NGOs can combat hate crimes in a number of different ways, such as:
» Working with governments to improve legislation;
Monitoring and reporting incidents;
• Acting as a voice for victims of hate crimes, especially by serving as inter-
mediaries with the authorities;
• Providing practical assistance to victims of hate crimes, such as legal
advice, counselling and other services;
• Raising awareness about the existence of discrimination, intolerance and
hate crimes; and
• Campaigning for action to meet the challenge of hate crimes.
Human Rights Defenders
"Human rights defender" is a term applied broadly to a person who acts to pro-
mote or protect human rights, individually or in concert with others. Human
rights defenders, whether individuals or members of NGOs, are identified, above
all, by what they stand for and what they do. Human rights defenders and oth-
ers who actively oppose discrimination and hatred are also among the victims
of hate crimes, as they are sometimes targeted for their association and solidar-
ity with the victims of discrimination. In this context, states have recognized
the need to protect human rights defenders. Some hate crime laws are drafted
to specify that attacks against human rights defenders in response to their anti-
discrimination activities should also be considered hate crimes.
The Resource Guide
This resource guide was written to assist NGOs in their day-to-day work. It
details how and why NGOs can combat hate crime. This guide assumes some
prior knowledge of hate crimes. As it is designed as a practical tool, this publi-
cation does not contain statistics or technical analysis of hate crimes, nor is it
focused on legal issues. NGOs that would find such information useful should
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 13
refer to the ODIHR annual hate crimes report and the ODIHR publication Hate
Crime Laws: A Practical Guide. 6
An important element of this guide is the use of examples of successful projects
from across the OSCE area.
The guide deals with the key issue areas in which NGOs may be working and,
therefore, the chapters are organized in that manner.
6 Available on line at <http://www.osce.org/odihr/item_ll_36671.html>.
14 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Key Concepts and
Hate Crimes: Understanding the Phenomenon
Hate crimes are criminal acts motivated by bias or prejudice towards particular
groups of people.
A hate crime therefore comprises two distinct elements:
• It is an act that constitutes an offence under criminal law; and
■ In committing the crime, the perpetrator acts on the basis of prejudice
Thus, the perpetrator of a hate crime selects the victim based on the victim's
membership or perceived membership of a particular group. Where the crime
involves damage to property, the property is chosen because of its association
with a victim group and can include such targets as places of worship, commu-
nity centres, vehicles or family homes.
Prejudice or bias can be broadly defined as preconceived negative opinions, intol-
erance or hatred directed at a particular group. The group must share a common
characteristic that is immutable or fundamental, such as "race", ethnicity, lan-
guage, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or other characteristic. 7
Hate crimes occur even in countries without hate crime laws: The term describes
a phenomenon, not a legal concept and, for that reason, laws that deal with this
issue vary widely across the OSCE. 8 Many governments believe there are no hate
crimes being committed in their countries, so there is no need to take action to
7 It is important to note that there remains no clear consensus among OSCE participating States about the
specific inclusion of this ground for discrimination within the OSCE commitments and that not all participat-
ing States officially recognize the category of "sexual orientation" within their national legislation.
8 This, along with the constituent elements of hate crime laws, is described in more detail in Hate Crime
Laws: A Practical Guide, (Warsaw: OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, 2009), <http://
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 15
combat them. But the available evidence suggests strongly that hate crimes do
occur, to a greater or lesser extent, in all countries. 9
The prejudices or biases at the base of hate crimes vary. People may be target-
ed for hate crimes because of their "race", religion, sexual orientation or other
factors. People with mental or physical disabilities or migrants are frequently
the targets of hate crimes. Additionally, it is important to bear in mind that the
motives for a hate crime can be mixed with other factors, so a crime may have
aspects both of racism and economic gain, for example. A hate crime does not
have to involve "hate"; any crime committed with a bias motive is considered a
Hate crimes can be committed by people with no record of bias-motivated activ-
ities or other criminal behaviour. Despite popular perceptions, hate crimes are
not always committed by members of far-right groups or ideological movements.
For these reasons, hate crimes are very complex phenomena that can be hard to
recognize and respond to.
An act that involves prejudice and bias of the sort described above but does not
amount to a crime is described as a "hate-motivated incident". The term describes
acts motivated by prejudice ranging from those that are merely offensive to those
constituting criminal acts in which the crime has not been proven. Thus, they
share the second but not the first element of a hate crime.
Although hate-motivated incidents do not always involve crimes, such incidents
often precede, accompany or provide the context of hate crimes.
The incidents can be precursors to more serious crimes. Records of hate-moti-
vated incidents can be useful to demonstrate not only a context of harassment,
but also provide evidence of escalating patterns of violence.
Data on both hate-motivated incidents and hate crimes provide important indi-
cators of the state of public security and actual levels of violence affecting partic-
ular communities. For this reason, in some countries hate-motivated incidents
are recorded in addition to and separately from hate crimes. This is discussed
further in Chapter 4: Data Collection, Monitoring and Reporting.
9 See Combating Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region: An Overview of Statistics, Legislation and National
Initiatives (Warsaw: OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, 2007), <http://www.osce.
org/odihr/item_ll_33850.html>. The European Crime and Safety Survey 2005 put the average portion of the
population of EU countries that had been victim to hate crimes at 3 per cent, with wide variations in numbers
16 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Hate crimes should be distinguished from discrimination. Although hate crimes
can be seen as an extreme example of discrimination, and most NGOs that work
to combat hate crimes also work to combat discrimination, it is important to
retain a distinction between the two concepts. Acts of discrimination lack the
essential element of an act constituting a crime. Discrimination issues are dealt
with under civil law, even if the penalty is a criminal sanction. The legal and
institutional frameworks governing discrimination and hate crimes, therefore,
Hate Crime and Hate Speech
Forms of expression that are motivated by, demonstrate or encourage hostility
towards a group — or a person because of their membership of that group —
are commonly referred to as "hate speech". Since hate speech may encourage
or accompany hate crimes, the two concepts are interlinked. In this guide, the
term "hate crime" is used to describe acts and not discriminatory views or hate
States differ considerably as to which forms of expression constitute crimes.
Direct and immediate threats of violence, as well as incitement to violence, are
crimes in all OSCE participating States, hence these crimes can be prosecut-
ed even without a bias motive. Beyond this, however, there is no consensus on
what other forms of speech should be prohibited. This and other aspects of hate
speech and NGO responses to it are discussed in Chapter 6: Strategies to Com-
bat Hate Speech.
Why Are Hate Crimes Different from Other Crimes?
The impact of hate crimes can be far greater than that of crimes without a bias
motive, particularly in their impact on individual victims, those immediately
associated with them and wider society. This greater impact is one of the key rea-
sons why hate crimes should be treated differently than the same crimes com-
mitted without a bias motivation.
Impact on the Individual
Hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents frequently leave victims in fear of
future attacks and of increased violence. This fear comes from the rejection of
the victims' identity that is implicit in hate crimes. Additionally, hate crimes send
the message that victims are not an accepted part of the society in which they
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 17
live. As a consequence, those attacked may experience both a sense of extreme
isolation and greater and longer lasting fear than that experienced by other vic-
tims of crime.
Victims of hate crimes have been shown to experience more negative emotions
than suffered by victims of other crimes. 10 An unhelpful or denigrating response
to victims of hate crimes can cause further harm to already traumatized peo-
ple. This secondary victimization can occur, in particular, when representatives
from broader society, such as police, social-service professionals, doctors or judg-
es deny or minimize the seriousness of reported hate crimes. For many targets of
hate crimes, secondary victimization leads to even greater humiliation, degrada-
tion and isolation.
Hate crimes have a similarly destructive impact on the family and friends of the
victim and on others who share the characteristics that were the object of the
prejudice and hatred behind the attack. Other members of the target group can
feel not only at risk from future attacks, but may be as psychologically affected
as if they were themselves the victims. These effects can be multiplied where vic-
tims are from groups that have been discriminated against and subject to preju-
dice for generations.
The Broader Threat to Society
When hate crimes are not thoroughly investigated and prosecuted, this can send
a signal that the perpetrators are free to continue their activities, which may
encourage others to commit similar crimes. Impunity for the perpetrators of
hate crimes contributes to rising levels of violence. In the absence of protection
from hate crime violence, minority communities lose confidence in law enforce-
ment and government structures, leaving them further marginalized. In the
worst cases, hate crimes can cause retaliatory attacks by the victim groups, cre-
ating a spiral of violence.
Patterns of violent hate crime can be an important indicator of fissures in soci-
ety, and provide early warning where societies are lurching into social or ethnic
10 A report issued by the American Psychological Association likened the symptoms exhibited by victims
of hate crimes to those exhibited by individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder ("Hate Crimes
Today: An Age-Old Foe in Modern Dress", American Psychological Association, 1998, <http://www.apa.org/
releases/hate. html>). A 2001 study in the United States found that victims of hate crimes suffer more signifi-
cant consequences than victims of other types of crimes (McDevitt, Balbonic, Garcia and Gui, "Consequences
for Victims, A Comparison of Bias and Non-Bias Motivated Assaults", American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 45,
No. 4, 2001, pp. 697-711.
Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Hate Crime Laws
Legislation dealing with hate crimes can take many different forms, but broadly
there are three approaches. The first is to define acts that are already crimes as
distinct, more serious offences ("substantive offences") if the victim was selected
on the grounds of his or her membership of a protected group.
The second approach is sentence enhancement, where the charge before the
court is the same as if there were no hate motivation, but the court can or must
impose a higher penalty because of the motivation, which is considered an aggra-
The third form involves the creation by states of laws that mandate collection
of data on hate crimes without creating criminal offences related to them, or in
addition to criminal laws.
Different states' hate crime laws differ widely with respect to the characteristics
of the groups covered. In the OSCE region, legislation concerning hate crimes
most commonly refers to crimes motivated by prejudice towards persons because
of their membership of a group defined by "race", religion, ethnicity or national
origin. Increasingly, participating States' hate crime laws refer also to sexual ori-
entation, gender and disability.
Arguments for Hate Crime Laws
Even states that accept publicly that hate crimes exist do not always recognize
the need for change to make their laws more effective.
NGOs have played a major role in convincing legislators of the need for and val-
ue of hate crime laws in many countries. In order to provide a simple, clear and
accessible tool for drafting hate crime laws, ODIHR produced Hate Crime Laws:
A Practical Guide. The guide outlines the major questions to be addressed by
legislators, analyses the implications of different answers to those questions,
and gives examples of choices made by different states while drafting these
laws. The guide is intended to be used by NGOs, policymakers and legislators. It
describes the main arguments for hate crime laws and is available in a number
Hate crime legislation is important for a number of reasons:
• It is a symbolic acknowledgement to potential victims, perpetrators and
wider society that hate crime is taken seriously;
• The legislative process encourages discussion of the issue, which increases
public awareness of hate crime;
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 19
It mandates that law enforcement agencies consider motive, and thereby
focuses their efforts;
It enables victims to see if the law is being properly applied, and to argue
their case with the authorities where it is not; and
It facilitates the collection of more accurate data on hate crime.
In Croatia, advocacy by coalitions of human rights and anti-discrimination bodies for
hate crime legislation was successful when, in June 2006, the Croatian parliament
brought hate crime provisions into the criminal code. The new provision defines as
a hate crime "any criminal act ... committed for reasons of hatred towards a person
on the basis of his/her race, skin colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion,
politics or other belief, national or social background, property, birth, education,
social status, age, medical status or any other attribute". 11 The Women's Network of
Croatia, a coalition of more than 50 women's and feminist organizations, was among
the advocates for the legislation.
Barbara Perry (ed.) Hate and Bias Crime: A Reader (New York, NY: Routledge,
Hate Crime Laws: A Practical Guide (Warsaw: OSCE Office for Democratic
Institutions and Human Rights, 2009).
11 "Hate Crimes: 2007 Survey", Human Rights First, June 2007, p. 2, <www.humanrightsnrst.info/pdf/07601-
Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Recognizing hate crimes
The most common flaw in the investigation of hate crimes is the refusal or failure
of law enforcement bodies to identify a criminal act as a hate crime. Therefore,
for police officers and for NGOs who receive complaints or interview victims, it
is essential to have some criteria by which to evaluate whether a case might be a
Hate crime indicators are objective facts that signal that a case may involve a hate
crime. If such indicators exist, the incident should be recorded as a possible hate
crime and should trigger further investigation about the motive for the crime.
The existence of such indicators does not prove that the incident was a hate
crime. The proof of hate motivation will come only after a thorough and com-
pleted investigation, with a result confirmed by a court.
Hate crime indicators can be useful for NGOs, as they form an objective and
consistent factual basis upon which to advocate with police or other governmen-
tal agencies for treating incidents as possible hate crimes.
Hate Crime Indicators
National experts and law enforcement agencies have developed guidelines by
which to identify hate crimes, including detailed lists of hate crime indicators.
While these may vary, the most common indicators are listed below.
Victim and Witness Perception
The perception of the victim(s) is a primary indicator of bias motivation. These
perceptions are based on the victim's own experience with prejudice, the cir-
cumstances of the attack, their identification of the attackers and many other
factors. Sometimes, witnesses' perceptions can also provide strong indicators of
the apparent motive of the perpetrator.
In some OSCE countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, any reported
crime which a victim, witness or police officer believes to have been hate moti-
vated must be recorded and investigated as a potential hate crime.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 21
The Conduct of the Offender
Perpetrators of hate crimes frequently make their prejudices clear before, during
or after the act. The crucial evidence in most hate crimes consists of the words
or symbols used by the perpetrators themselves. Those who commit hate crimes
generally want to send a message to their victims and to others and these mes-
sages, from shouted epithets to graffiti, are powerful evidence of motivation.
The Characteristics of the Victim and the Perpetrator
Although hate crimes are most commonly thought of as involving attacks on
members of minorities, this is not always the case. Depending on local circum-
stances, some hate crimes involve minority-upon-minority attacks, and some-
times minority on majority — this usually happens in places where members of
a minority in a larger territory are the majority locally. Some circumstances that
may be indicative of a hate crime include:
• The "race", religion, ethnicity/national origin, disability status, gender, or
sexual orientation of the victim differs from that of the offender;
• The victim is a member of a group that is overwhelmingly outnumbered
by members of another group in the area where the incident occurred;
• The victim is a member of a community that is concentrated within par-
ticular areas and was attacked upon leaving that area;
• The incident occurred during an incursion by members of a majority
group into an area that is predominately populated by members of minor-
ities (this is a pattern reflecting the historical experience of pogroms, in
which attacks were carried out on a minority population that was largely
confined to a particular district neighbourhood);
• The victim is a member of a minority who is attacked by a group from
members of a different population group; and
• There is historical animosity between the group of which the victim is a
member and that of the offender.
Characteristics of a victim that may be indicators of hate crime include:
• The victim is identifiable as "different" from the attackers and, often, from
the majority community, by such factors as appearance, dress, language
• The victim is a prominent figure, such as a religious leader, rights activist
or public spokesperson, in a community that has faced ongoing discrimi-
22 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
• The victim was in the company of or married to a member of a minority
The characteristics, behavior and background of alleged offenders can also yield
several potential indicators of hate motivation. For example:
■ Statements, gestures or other behavior before, during or after the incident
displaying prejudice or bias against the group or community to which the
target or victim belongs;
• Clothing, tattoos or insignia representative of particular extremist move-
ments, e.g., the use of swastikas or other Nazi insignia or paramilitary-
• The offender's behavior (such as making Nazi salutes or attending rallies
or protests organized by hate groups) suggests possible membership in a
hate organization; and
• The offender has a history of previous crimes with a similar modus ope-
randi and involving other victims from the same minority group or other
What Sort of Property Might be Targeted?
Indicators can also be identified in attacks on property that suggest bias moti-
vations. The significance of a particular structure or location to communities
that face discrimination can be an initial indicator that bias motivation may be
Other indicators that an attack on property may be a hate crime can include:
• Property targeted has religious or other symbolic importance for a partic-
ular community, such as a church or a synagogue, a cemetery, or a monu-
ment commemorating the dead or celebrating historical figures from the
• Property targeted is a centre of community life — such as a school, social
club or shop — for a particular group;
• Property targeted is different from surrounding property because it is
owned or occupied by members of a particular community; and
• Property has been the object of previous similar attacks.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 23
Was an Organized Hate Group Involved?
A perpetrator's association with an organization founded on ideologies of preju-
dice and with a history of violence is an important indicator requiring further
investigation into motivation. In some countries, membership in or activities
associated with organized hate groups are criminalized, and crimes committed
by members of such organizations recorded and prosecuted separately. In some
countries, racist and xenophobic crimes would, therefore, fall within the ambit
of "extremist crime".
Indicators that an organized group was involved in a hate crime include:
• Objects or items that represent the work of organized hate groups (e.g.,
hate graffiti or attire indicative of a particular group) were observed or left
at the scene of the incident;
• An organized hate group had made recent statements threatening
the group that was targeted or claimed responsibility for the crime
• The incident coincided with a date of particular significance to hate
groups (e.g., Adolf Hitler's birthday); and
• The incident occurred during or shortly after an event sponsored by a
hate group, such as a rally, or occurred after a hate group was campaign-
ing or otherwise active in the neighbourhood.
When and where did the incident happen?
The timing and location of an incident may also suggest that it was a hate crime.
Indicators of this could include:
• The incident was at or near a place commonly associated with members of
a particular minority group (e.g., housing for refugees and asylum seekers,
a centre for people with disabilities, or a club or bar with a predominately
• The incident was at or near a house of worship, religious cemetery, or
home or establishment of a group considered a minority or "outsider" in
a given neighbourhood;
• The incident occurred on public transport and appeared to be an attack by
strangers on a member of a visible minority who stood out from others;
• The incident occurred on a date of special significance to the community
targeted (e.g., religious holidays or days commemorating significant his-
torical events); or
24 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
• The incident occurred only a short time after a change in a minority's
presence in a particular area (e.g., the first minority family moved into the
area, or the opening of a refugee centre).
Previous Hate Crimes or Incident
Other indicators of hate crimes include:
» Previous similar incidents have occurred in the same area in which mem-
bers of the same group were targeted;
• The victim or victims had received previous harassing or threatening mail
or telephone calls based on membership in their group; and
• A previous incident or crime was reported that may have sparked a retal-
iatory hate crime against members of the group presumed responsible.
In investigating hate-motivated incidents and crimes, it is important to take into
account all possible motives. For example, an incident in which a person is sin-
gled out for attack because of his or her identity may still be a hate crime even if
the person is also robbed in the course of the incident. A question will arise as
to whether the crime was motivated in whole or in part by prejudice and hatred;
in some countries, if there is any mixed motive it will not be treated as a hate
In many reported cases, individuals who have been targeted for attacks because
of prejudice and hatred have also been victimized in other ways. The fact that
they also had items of value stolen in the course of these attacks — a cell phone
or money — is sometimes used to argue that the incident was not a hate crime.
An important consideration is whether the particular individual was selected as
a target because he or she was identified as a member of a particular ethnic, reli-
gious or other group.
The Nature of the Violence
Whether the crime takes the form of a physical assault or damage to property,
when the perpetrators commit a hate crime they often intend to leave a message.
Indicators of this include:
• The incident involved extreme or unusual violence, or expressly degrad-
ing and humiliating treatment, including sexual abuse of victims in
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 25
• The violence was carried out in a public place or in a form intended to
make a public impact, such as through video recording by perpetrators;
• The violence involved mutilation in which racist symbols were cut or
burned onto victim's bodies, or the damage to property included an
express "message", through the use of symbols or objects that defile or
desecrate, such as animal blood or excrement.
Extremism in America: A Guide (New York, NY: Anti-Defamation League,
"Guidelines on Hate Crimes and Hate Propaganda", Royal Canadian Mounted
Police; Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services of
Canada, 20 May 1998.
Karen A. McLaughlin, Kelly J. Brilliant, Healing the Hate: A National Hate
Crime Prevention Curriculum for Middle Schools (Newton, MA; Education
Development Center, 1997).
James J. Nolan III, Jack McDevitt, Shea Cronin, Amy Farrell, "Learning to See
Hate Crimes: A Framework for Understanding and Clarifying Ambiguities
in Bias Crime Classification", Criminal Justice Studies, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp.
Robin Oakley, Policing Racist Crime and Violence: A Comparative Analysis
(Vienna: European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia 2005).
"Protecting Students From Harassment and Hate Crime: A Guide for Schools",
United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights; National
Association of Attorneys General, January 1999.
"Racism as a Crime", European Network Against Racism, 30 October 2006.
"Working Group on Hate Crime Report", Scottish Executive. Working Group
on Hate Crime, September 2004.
"The Yogyakarta Principles: Principles on the Application of International
Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity",
Yogyakarta Principles, March 2007.
26 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Working with the
criminal justice system
Governments are primarily responsible for fighting hate crime through their
criminal justice systems. NGOs can work both with communities that face dis-
crimination and with police and local-government officials. A goal of this inter-
action is to improve relations between authorities and victims and to make rem-
edies to hate crime more accessible and reliable.
Responses of the Criminal Justice System
Most criminal justice systems collect some form of data with which to evalu-
ate the performance of law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and the judiciary.
Information on the number of hate-motivated incidents reported, as well as the
numbers of arrests, prosecutions and convictions for hate crimes can demon-
strate the level and success of enforcement efforts. Some cities or other political
jurisdictions may require police to produce data on hate incidents and crimes,
even when a national system is not in force that requires such data collection.
The Role of Police
Police officers are frequently the first professionals to arrive at the scene of a hate
crime and police agencies are, in many instances, the only government institu-
tions capable of conducting a thorough investigation of possible hate crimes.
What police officers do and say in the first several minutes at a crime scene can
affect the recovery by victims, the public's perception of governmental commit-
ment to addressing hate crimes, and the outcome of the investigation. Officers
who recognize a probable hate crime, interact with the victims with empathy,
and take action to initiate a hate crime investigation send a strong message that
hate crimes are a serious issue.
Police officers and agencies face significant obstacles to monitoring and record-
ing hate crimes. These include:
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 27
• Policy gaps: The absence of policies or procedures within the police
agency for recording hate crimes and details of evidence regarding bias
• Reporting gaps: The lack of formal police-agency procedures for reporting
information on hate crimes to regional or national offices.
• Priority gaps: The failure on the part of some political officials and associ-
ated police agencies to believe that hate crimes are an important and seri-
ous issue in their country or region, leading them to decide not to record
hate crimes or to report them to the public or higher authorities.
• Lack of training: A lack of training for police officers in identifying and
investigating hate crimes, resulting in insufficient skills to identify hate
crimes, collect evidence concerning bias motivations and/or fulfill report-
• Concern about the repercussions of reporting: Some police agencies may
discourage reporting because they believe that there will be adverse con-
sequences to the agency or the community if others perceive that a seri-
ous hate crime problem exists.
• Prejudices: There can be a failure to report hate crimes on the part of some
police personnel because they share the prejudices of the perpetrators. A
de facto norm may exist that deters police personnel from responding
adequately to members of minority groups who report crimes, denying
them respect and equal protection. In this kind of environment, officers
might not question victims and perpetrators appropriately about possible
hate motivation in reported bias incidents, or might be reluctant to report
that the crime involved hate motivation.
Enforcement, Response and Prevention
Police departments throughout the OSCE region vary significantly in the prior-
ity and attention they attach to addressing hate crimes. Experience has shown,
however, that even where addressing hate crimes has been a low priority in the
past, this can change with greater awareness, training or other circumstances.
Positive changes can often be prompted by the work of NGOs.
NGOs can advocate for police agencies to develop clear or improved written pol-
icies for officers regarding when and how to record hate crimes, and can offer
advice on procedures that will overcome obstacles that prevent victims from
NGOs can both monitor police performance and report to authorities in the
event of any violation of official policies by police officers. NGO monitoring and
Preventing and responding to hate crimes
reporting can thus provide a safeguard and encourage improved police practices.
If there should be serious breaches of police procedures or legal norms, NGOs
may be in a position to approach authorities with a complaint or, if necessary, to
publicize the problem or initiate legal action on behalf of victims.
An especially important added value to combating hate crimes can sometimes be
provided by NGOs if they are able to build a positive relationship with police and
other officials involved in responding to hate crimes. There are a number of ways
to begin working with police to improve community responses to hate crimes
and to advance prevention efforts. These include developing a better understand-
ing of the structures and authority of diverse police establishments and devel-
oping working relations and raising awareness of hate crime issues with police,
including through public-campaign action.
Many states have multiple police agencies, often with overlapping areas of author-
ity. City, regional, national and security police all may operate within the same
geographic area. It is important for NGOs to understand the geographic jurisdic-
tions and areas of authority of different police agencies, as well as the mechanisms
for referring matters to those agencies. Some police agencies have ombudsmen,
oversight boards and other accountability mechanisms with responsibilities that
include responding to complaints about police conduct.
In some instances, police agencies may be resistant to enforcing hate crime laws.
In such cases, it is important to remember that working with police to create an
effective hate crime enforcement programme is a process that may take con-
siderable time. This process often begins with NGO staff developing a positive
working relationship with a single police official. Over time, the trust that is built
between individuals can result in closer institutional ties between NGOs and
Improving Community-Police Relations
Effective law enforcement and police response to hate crimes are significant-
ly improved by ongoing communication and trust between targeted communi-
ties and officers. This can be advanced through training, the creation of a range
of special structures (such as liaison officers or committees), and new forms of
Increasing understanding between police and communities is an important part
of the NGO role, particularly where police may require greater awareness of cul-
tural factors unique to these communities. These may include issues of gender,
perceptions of authority, and even such issues as whether interviewees can be
expected to make eye contact when speaking to police. When hate crimes occur,
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 29
NGOs, police officers and social-service providers will be able to work effectively
and efficiently with individuals from diverse communities only if they are aware
of these unique factors. An understanding by police of a community's cultur-
al differences is important if they are to conduct effective interviews with hate
crime victims and suspects, collect accurate hate crime information, and provide
appropriate support services to hate crime victims.
Becoming culturally aware involves an ongoing process of learning about the
diverse groups within a community. NGOs, and particularly those with close
ties to the communities in question, can help by organizing workshops that bring
together police and community representatives, preparing materials on cultural
diversity for police training, and taking part in ongoing consultations between
community leaders and police that can avert misunderstandings. Being aware of
the practices and perceptions of different groups allows those dealing with hate
crimes to avoid many of the pitfalls and frustrations common to cross-cultural
In countries were the police are already working actively on behalf of minority
communities, NGOs can work to further improve police-community relations
by helping ensure community members understand that police help is available
and explaining how to obtain it. Some groups of migrants, for example, may
arrive from countries where they faced persecution, so they may be reluctant to
interact with police or other authorities in their new country of residence.
The Ireland-based Gay and Lesbian Equality Network launched a joint partnership
initiative with the police to address hate-motivated incidents and crimes against
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGTB) people. The "Be Proud, Be Safe"
campaign includes specially trained gay police-liaison officers who work with LGBT
people who have been victims of hate-motivated incidents during a weekly drop-in
session at the Dublin-based gay community centre. 12
Committees that Bridge the Police-Community Divide
Committees or task forces can be established that bring together police, local
government and local community representatives to co-ordinate action against
hate crimes. NGOs can work with the police to create a task force or joint work-
ing group that will meet regularly (e.g., monthly) to discuss the needs of targeted
communities and police action to address these issues. Task force meetings pro-
vide an opportunity for community members to request information on the sta-
tus of ongoing hate crime investigations and for police to show transparency in
their actions. The membership of a task force can come from ethnic, religious and
other communities targeted with hate crimes, as well as NGOs and supportive
12 See <http://www.outhouse.ie/groups.asp>.
30 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
religious, community and political leaders. Such bodies can facilitate efforts to
improve understanding between communities and the police, for example by
inviting police to attend cultural- and religious-minority community events.
In Sofia, Bulgaria, the Romani Baht Foundation served an important liaison role in the
course of ongoing disturbances in August 2007 in which Roma protesters clashed
with police. The foundation hosted meetings between Roma leaders and top
government officials, leading to an agreement to hold regular monthly meetings, to
provide increased police protection, and to create special "social police centres" to
protect the Roma community from racist violence. 13
NGOs and Police Training
NGOs can also assist in the development and implementation of training for
police on dealing with the threat of hate crimes, both at the local and the national
level. Training can cover such issues as hate crime indicators (how to distinguish
a hate crime), cultural and gender factors in interviewing, and tolerance issues.
Training sessions should be required for all officers on the investigation of and
response to hate crimes and incidents. In some countries, national police acad-
emies have begun to include the fundamentals of combating hate crimes in their
In the United States, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) conducts training and
provides material on hate crimes and hate groups for police — including military
police — and for public prosecutors, through a programme called the "Law
Enforcement Agency Resource Network". Training programmes include expert
discussions of hate crimes and hate crime laws at the national level and in particular
states, as well as of extremists in prison, hate symbols and ideology, extremist
use of the Internet and criminal trends. "Hate Crime Training for Law Enforcement
Professionals" is an interactive ADL programme "that addresses hate crime
identification within the law enforcement ranks and issues relevant to counseling
victims of hate crimes and reducing community tensions". "
"A Guide for the Improvement of Support to Victims of Homophobic Crime",
Swedish National Police Board, October 2005.
"Conciliating Compassion Annual Report FY 2005", United States Department
of Justice, Community Relations Service, 2005.
13 "A meeting between representatives of the National Police Service and Romani Baht Foundation," Romea.
cz website, 22 August 2007, <http://www.romea.cz/english/index. php?id=detail&detail=2007_498>.
14 See <http://www.adl.org/learn/default.asp> and
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region
Core Curriculum for Patrol Officers, Detectives & Command Officers
(Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, 1998).
"Federal Sentencing Guideline Manual", United States Sentencing Commission,
"Guidance on Prosecuting Cases of Racist and Religious Crime", Crown
Prosecution Service, 2008.
"Hate Crimes: A local Prosecutor's Guide for Responding to Hate Crimes",
National District Attorneys Association, American Prosecutors Research
Institute, April 2001.
"Hate Crime: Delivering a Quality Service. Good Practice and Tactical
Guidance", Home Office. Police Standards Unit, Association of Chief Police
Officers, March 2005.
"Have You Experienced Homophobic Hate Crime? A Guide on How the
Criminal Justice Agencies Respond to Homophobic Hate Crime, and the
Steps You Can Take Towards Stopping It", North Wales Police, Stonewall
Cymru, August 2008.
James E. Kaplan, Margaret P. Moss, Michael L. Lieberman (ed.), Stephen
Wessler (ed.) "Investigating Hate Crimes on the Internet", Partners Against
Hate, September 2003.
"Law Enforcement Officer Programme on Combating Hate Crime", OSCE
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, September 2006.
Katy Radford, Jennifer Betts, Malcolm Ostermeyer, Malcolm, Policing,
Accountability and the Black and Minority Ethnic Communities in Northern
Ireland (Belfast: Institute for Conflict Research, 2006).
Katy Radford, Jennifer Betts, Malcolm Ostermeyer, Malcolm, Policing,
Accountability and the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community in Northern
Ireland (Belfast: Institute for Conflict Research, 2006).
"Policy Directive PD 02/06: Police Response to Hate Incidents", Police Service of
Northern Ireland, March 2006.
"Racist and Religious Crime: CPS Prosecution Policy", U.K. Crown Prosecution
"Responding to Hate Crimes: A Police Officer's Guide to Investigation and
Prevention", International Association of Chiefs of Police, July 2001.
"Responding to Hate Crimes: An Ontario Police Officer's Guide to Investigation
and Prevention Ontario Police College", Ontario Police College, September
"Stopping Hate Crime Against the LGBT Community", West Midlands Police,
"Stopping Hate Crime Against Race and Religion", West Midlands Police, 2005.
"The Role of the Police in Victim Support: A National Strategy", Swedish
National Police Board, September 2003.
32 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
monitoring and reporting
What official information is collected?
Most governments collect some form of crime data as a necessary tool of law
enforcement, with the collection function the responsibility of the police and
national security authorities. Other data are collected by public prosecutors and
the judiciary. In some cases, hate crime data are also collected by state education
systems, with central data collection under the authority of ministries of educa-
tion. The nature of data varies, however, in the crimes monitored and in the cat-
egories of bias taken into account in monitoring and reporting systems.
The European Union's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA, formerly the Europe-
an Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia), regularly assesses the hate
crime data-collection mechanisms of EU Member States. Although defined in
terms of data on "racist violence and crime", its criteria are also relevant for data
collection on all violent hate crimes. 15
Even when nationwide data are not available from national authorities, NGOs
can sometimes access data from police agencies, district or city prosecutors, and/
or the courts. Similarly, NGOs may be provided information by the offices of city
or regional public prosecutors on the number of cases handled within a given
period that include hate crime elements. Often, data that are not regularly pub-
lished may be available upon request, particularly when NGOs have regular con-
tact with police authorities or prosecutors concerning hate crimes.
Obstacles to Obtaining Reliable Hate Crime Data
The absence of accessible law enforcement data on hate-motivated incidents and
crimes can be attributed to a number of factors. In some cases, data maybe avail-
able within the security services but withheld from the public on national-secu-
rity grounds. In other cases, data may be unavailable simply because police have
15 Report on Racism and Xenophobia in the Member States of the EU (FRA, August 2007), p. 118-19, <http://
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region
received no instructions to compile information on motivations of hatred and
prejudice when receiving complaints or conducting investigations. Even where
hate crime laws are in force and official crime-report data are required, obstacles
to data collection may be present both within the law enforcement establishment
and within the communities under threat.
Obstacles to hate crime monitoring and reporting generally fall in two areas: fac-
tors discouraging victims from reporting to police, and factors that result in inci-
dents not being recorded as having hate motivations. These factors result in both
under-reporting and under-recording of hate-motivated incidents and crimes.
NGOs can help address both problems.
The previous chapter of this guide (Working with the Criminal Justice System)
offered a number of reasons why hate crimes may be under-recorded and set out
some strategies to address this problem. With regard to under-reporting by vic-
tims, there are many reasons victims may be reluctant to report hate crimes to
police and public authorities. These factors include:
• A belief that nothing will happen: Many victims lack confidence that
law enforcement or government officials will take appropriate action to
respond to their hate crime report, either as an ordinary crime or as a
• Mistrust or fear of the police: Victims who belong to a group that has his-
torically been subjected to harassment, violence or general lack of protec-
tion by police may not want to have any contact with police, including
reporting hate crimes. Individuals who believe that police have commit-
ted hate crimes or are complicit in hate crimes perpetuated by others may
be scared to report hate crimes. Immigrants or refugees who have fled
their country of origin because of government-supported violence may
not trust police in their new country of residence;
• Fear of retaliation: Many victims fear that if they report a crime the perpe-
trators or others with similar views will retaliate against them, their fam-
ily members or the community to which they belong. In addition, if a hate
crime perpetrator is linked to a hate organization, victims may fear being
targeted by members of this or other organizations;
• Lack of knowledge of hate crime laws: Many people may be unaware that
hate crime laws exist or how or where to report these crimes;
• Shame: Some victims feel ashamed and embarrassed in the aftermath of
a hate crime, either believing that their victimization was their own fault
or that their friends, family members and/or community will stigmatize
them, branding them as socially unacceptable should their treatment be
34 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
made publicly known. While this is also a factor in ordinary crimes, a
sense of shame and degradation may be more acute in an incident of hate
crime because individuals are being victimized because of their very iden-
tity. The issue of shame may be particularly significant as an obstacle to
reporting hate crime attacks in cases involving sexual violence;
• Denial: In order to cope with the trauma of a hate crime, some victims
deny or minimize the impact and seriousness of the crime;
• Fear of disclosing their sexual orientation: For homosexual, bisexual, and
transgender individuals, reporting a hate crime may mean publicly dis-
closing their sexual orientation or gender identity. Victims of anti-homo-
sexual hate crimes in some countries may be worried that disclosing their
sexual orientation could lead to them being further victimized, or even
criminally prosecuted for homosexuality;
• Fear of disclosing their ethnic, religious or political affiliation: Members of
ethnic, religious or political minority groups sometimes fear that disclos-
ing their identity could lead to discrimination or other negative conse-
• Fear of arrest and/or deportation: Individuals who are not citizens of the
country where they have been victimized may fear that, even as crime
victims, their involvement with police or government may result in arrest
In addition to the points above, which relate to victim fears and perceptions, oth-
er factors that may lead to under-reporting of hate crimes include:
• Hate crime laws do not cover certain forms of discrimination: If hate crime
laws do not cover certain forms of discrimination, such as violence moti-
vated by gender identity or sexual orientation, members of groups vulner-
able to these attacks are less likely to report evidence in these incidents or
describe an attack as a hate crime; and
• Victims may be discouraged by police or other authorities from filing a com-
plaint: In some instances, victims who were prepared to file a formal com-
plaint may be deterred from doing so because police officers encourage
them not to or tell them that identifying hate motivation is not appro-
priate for a complaint. Police may, for example, assert that a crime was a
minor affair or a youthful prank and that nothing would come of a for-
mal complaint. They may point out that a formal complaint could cre-
ate further problems of retaliation for the victim or that they have more
serious crimes to investigate. In some instances, police may record only
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 35
part of a statement, excluding details of hate motivation provided by a
How Can NGOs Improve the Recording of Hate Crimes?
If crimes are not recorded, it allows state authorities to believe or assert that
there are no hate crimes occurring. NGOs can monitor the overall incidence of
hate crimes, as well as the official response to particular cases. By monitoring
and reporting hate crimes, NGOs can identify trends and take action on indi-
A manual produced by the Organization of Chinese Americans explains that data
available through NGO monitoring " is necessary for effective prevention and
response". 15 More specifically, hate crime data collection:
Places the community on alert to look out for the safety of its residents;
Increases the likelihood of victims reporting hate crimes;
Provides the community an opportunity to denounce hate publicly and to heal
Counters the tacit message of acceptance that the community would otherwise
be sending if it did not respond when a hate crime occurs in its midst;
Educates the general public about the true prevalence of hate crimes;
Presents the community with the opportunity to discuss ways to deal with hate
crimes (e.g., public education, community organization, legislative advocacy,
youth programmes and police-community partnerships); and
Gives lawmakers, government officials and other funders the information
necessary for them to decide on funding for education, training, prevention and
NGOs also play a role in providing channels for people to bring complaints
against the police, with due safeguards to ensure confidentiality where victims
lack confidence in official agencies. In addition to provisions for NGOs to rep-
resent victims in bringing complaints before official anti-discrimination bodies
or public prosecutors, NGOs can also bring complaints about discriminatory
action, including violence, by the police.
16 Responding to hate crimes: A Community Action Guide, Second Edition (Washington: Organization of
Chinese Americans, 2006), p. 9. <http://www.ocanational.org/images/stories/docscenter/ocahatecrime2006.
36 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
In the United Kingdom, where hate incidents can be reported to police either by the
victim or by someone acting on their behalf, the Community Security Trust has been
accorded third-party reporting status since 2001. This allows the organization to act
as a representative of victims who are unable or unwilling to report to the police
Collecting Information on Hate Crimes
The collection and dissemination of data on hate crimes is an important part of
any effort to improve prevention and response. To confront the problem, the local
and national authorities and the public need to know its real nature and extent —
and the threat the problem poses to society. Even when particular communities
face everyday violence driven by prejudice, the society as a whole may be largely
unaware of its severity or the way it compounds other forms of discrimination.
Where official data collection is ineffective, data from NGOs and other monitors,
surveys and information from the media can show that there is a problem that
calls for both political action and new legislation if it is to be dealt with.
Many NGOs gather information and generate data on their communities' own
hate crime realities. The data collected over time by NGOs can be subject to
much the same analysis as official data, although this does not substitute for
official data collection. NGO information, including data collected from sur-
veys, can show changing patterns of violence, including who is the target of hate
crimes, who carries them out, and the need for urgent preventive action. This
information can be useful to police and NGOs in developing multi-year plans
for response and prevention. Accompanied by strong advocacy, this data collec-
tion and analysis can, in turn, be used to help shape policy at the levels of local
or national government.
NGOs can also monitor the response of police, prosecutors and the judiciary to
hate crimes and periodically publish this information. This provides a basis for
civil society to review government action and ensure hate crimes are not com-
mitted with impunity.
Research undertaken by Amsterdam's Anne Frank House, in association with Leiden
University, examined police investigations and prosecutions, with findings for 2006
published in a December 2008 report, Opsporing en vervolging in 2006 (Investigation
and Prosecution in 2006). ,8
17 "Anti-Semitic Incidents Report 2007," Community Security Trust, 2008, <http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/
18 "Racism and Extremism Monitor: Investigation and Prosecution in 2006", Anne Frank House and Leiden
University, December 2007, <http://www.annefrank.org/content. asp?PID=817&LID=2>.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region
Community-based organizations are well placed to know of hate crimes and
incidents involving their own communities, particularly those that provide sup-
port to victims. Information on specific cases may be collected by NGOs with
a view to serving as an intermediary with public authorities, seeking justice and
soliciting official support for victims.
Some common means of information gathering include:
• Published Data: Review of newspaper, Internet and other public accounts
of hate crimes and incidents, including Internet sites and publications
from extremist organizations, may disclose important information.
Additionally, reviewing the websites of governmental agencies and other
NGOs may yield anecdotal information, hard data and useful analysis. As
NGOs seek to build credibility for their monitoring, it is vital that they
identify the sources of the information they cite;
• Interviews: NGOs are often uniquely placed to talk to the victims of hate
crimes, their families and witnesses about their experiences. In conduct-
ing and documenting interviews with victims, certain special consider-
ations need to be taken into account. These are discussed further below
(See Chapter 5: NGOs Supporting Victims);
• Group discussions or "focus groups": A "focus group" is a small group
assembled for a form of qualitative research in which people are asked
for their views on or to describe their experience with particular issues.
Meetings can be held with small numbers (generally between four and
12) of people from groups that have traditionally been targeted with hate,
discrimination and hate crimes. It is often helpful to ask participants to
speak or write about incidents they have witnessed or experienced. Many
targets of hate find it easier to write about incidents than to speak about
them. Summaries of the information provided by focus-group partici-
pants should be produced, with due consideration for confidentiality;
• Surveys: NGOs may be able to conduct surveys of members of discrete
population groups concerning their experience with hate crimes. Through
surveys, NGOs can retrospectively analyze the incidence of hate crimes
over a given time. Surveys may involve relatively small groups of people
and can be carried out through interviewing or through such means as
an Internet questionnaire. It is important to define clearly the methodol-
ogy used for a survey, including the parameters of the group surveyed and
the criteria by which its members were selected, their number, the precise
questions put to them, and the conditions under which their input was
provided. Surveys can be meaningful even when polling a relatively small,
but precisely defined sample of the population.
38 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
In the Russian Federation, Amnesty International conducted a survey among a
sample of people of African origin living in Moscow, asking them to describe their
experience with racially motivated violence from May 2001 to April 2002. In total,
the 1 80 respondents reported 204 attacks. 19 A 2006 survey by the Open Society
Institute's Criminal Justice Initiative found that over half of all people stopped by the
Moscow Metro police were riders whose appearance was non-Slavic, although these
persons made up less than five per cent of all Metro patrons. The survey was based
on the reports of monitors at over 1 ,000 police stops. It found that ethnic profiling
was both pervasive in the Moscow Metro but also largely futile: The study concluded
that only 3 percent of the police stops "resulted in even an administrative infraction
such as possessing improper documents". 20
Organizations that operate emergency hot lines for complaints of hate crimes
and incidents receive detailed information on specific cases that often must
remain confidential. On the other hand, they can count the specific complaints
received and break them down into categories of incidents in a way that gen-
erates useful data. In doing so, the confidentiality of hate crime victims must
always be respected, being sure to exclude information that would identify par-
NGOs that are unable to collect comprehensive information on cases of hate
crimes may be able to gather useful information concerning particular groups
under threat. A foreign students' association may be able to do a survey of its
members concerning each student's experience with criminal violence they
believe was motivated by prejudice and hatred during a particular time period.
Or an amateur football club made up of mostly African immigrants could sur-
vey its members' experiences with hate crime over a year. Such surveys can pro-
vide information concerning particular crimes and incidents, but also provide
a basis for reporting the level of violence experienced among a specific number
of individuals. The number of specific cases reported by a group sharing similar
characteristics may be a basis for extrapolating the proportion of those within
the broader group from which the sample was drawn who have suffered similar
treatment. The resulting numbers, however, have to be considered with caution.
NGOs can make good use of this information and data. Detailed descriptions
of particular crimes, as well as statistical information on crimes, can be used to
inform the public, assist in analysis, and lobby governments to take action.
19 "Dokumenty!" Discrimination on Grounds of Race in the Russian Federation (London: Amnesty Interna-
tional, 2003), p. 43, <http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR46/001/2003>.
20 Ethnic Profiling in the Moscow Metro, (New York, Open Society Institute, June 2006), p. 10, <http://www.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region
In Northern Ireland, NGO advocacy based on research on the incidence of
homophobic crimes led directly to the enactment of legislation punishing
homophobic hate crimes and to requirements for comprehensive police statistics
on this type of violence. In July 2003, the Institute for Conflict Research published
An Acceptable Prejudice? Homophobic Violence and Harassment in Northern Ireland, a
report drawing on police data and other research to document and raise awareness
about homophobic hate crime. Its recommendations included the need for new
hate crime legislation, more inclusive reporting by and training for police, and
measures to address homophobic bullying in the school system. The Institute built
on these efforts by providing training, support and assistance to other NGOs to
work with communities, police and local authorities to improve response to the
Monitoring Individual Cases
NGOs can monitor the progress of responses to particular hate crimes in order
to determine if there are specific or systemic shortcomings in a given locality or
on a national scale. This type of monitoring can focus on any or all aspects of a
particular hate crime case, including police investigation, prosecution, delivery
of services to victims and press coverage. This type of monitoring requires NGOs
to develop extensive knowledge about particular cases and may be an essential
part of the provision of legal or other assistance by the NGO. The monitoring of
individual cases should ideally involve follow-up to assess the effectiveness and
adequacy of the response by national or local authorities.
Information on incidents and crimes must be collected in a systematic manner in
accordance with consistent criteria if accurate, comprehensive and comparable
data are to result. Some monitoring systems produce statistics that are broken
down by the particular groups that are victimized. Other statistical breakdowns
may be undertaken to identify incidents by bias motivation. Both approaches are
useful, and in some cases official hate crime statistics reflect both the general
categories of bias motivation (e.g., racism or anti-Semitism) and the particular
groups with which victims under these categories are identified (e.g., people of
African or Jewish origin).
Whatever the case, practical methodologies for data collection and analysis
should include a breakdown of data into useful categories. These include the
• The Groups Targeted: Data that identify the particular groups affect-
ed by hate crimes are an essential tool for police planning and resource
21 Neil Jarman and Alex Tennant, An Acceptable Prejudice? Homophobic Violence and Harassment in
Northern Ireland (Belfast, Institute for Conflict Research, 2003), <http://www.conflictresearch.org.uk/docu-
40 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
allocation. They should further enable government agencies and NGOs
alike to increase preventative action to reduce the level of hate crimes
directed at those groups. The identification of the particular groups tar-
geted is also an indicator of the different forms of prejudice motivating
• Location of Hate Crimes: Geographical data that show the incidence of par-
ticular kinds of crime in cities, rural areas or distinct regions of a country
are an important tool for law enforcement and political decision makers
concerned with public policy and resource allocation. Patterns of hate
crime violence may be associated with particular areas. Such information
can be an important factor in enhanced law enforcement and preventive
efforts in particular geographic areas; and
• The Perpetrators: Information on the perpetrators can lead to the identi-
fication of the social foundations underlying hate crime activity and can
result in more focused prevention efforts. For example, data showing a
high percentage of hate crimes being committed by students can indi-
cate a need for increased prevention programming in schools. However,
as NGOs are unlikely to have access to information other than that which
is in the public domain during an investigation and prosecution, their
capacity to collect this is limited.
"Addressing the Hate Crime Data Deficit: Recommendations of the Anti-
Defamation League", Anti-Defamation League, November 2006.
Jack McDevitt, Shea Cronin, Jennifer Balboni, Amy Farrell, James Nolan and
Joan Weiss, "Bridging the Information Disconnect in National Bias Crime
Reporting: Final Report", Center for Criminal Justice Policy Research,
Northeastern University, 2002.
Dr. Christine Loudes and Evelyne Paradis, Handbook on Monitoring and
Reporting Homophobic and Transphobic Incidents, (Brussels: European
Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, 2008).
"Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines: Uniform Crime Reporting" United
States Department of Justice, Criminal Justice Information Services
Division, October 1999.
Jack McDevitt, Jennifer M. Balboni, Susan Bennett, Joan Weiss, Stan
Orchowsky, Lisa Walbolt, "Improving the Quality and Accuracy of Bias
Crime Statistics Nationally: An Assessment of the First Ten Years of Bias
Crime Data Collection: Executive Summary", Northeastern University, July
"National Incident-Based Reporting System. Volume 1, Data Collection
Guidelines", United States Department of Justice, Criminal Justice
Information Services Division, August 2000.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 41
"ODIHR Law Enforcement Officer Programme on Combating Hate Crime:
Data Collection Template - Incident Report", Annex D in Combating Hate
Crimes in the OSCE Region: An Overview of Statistics, Legislation, and
National Initiatives, (Warsaw: OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and
Human Rights, 2005).
"OSCE Tolerance Implementation Meeting on Addressing the Hate Crime Data
Deficit (Vienna, 9-10 November 2006) Meeting Report", OSCE, April 2007.
"Recommendations of the NGO Preparatory Meeting to the OSCE Tolerance
Implementation Meeting: Addressing the Hate Crime Data Deficit", OSCE,
"Reporting Manual: Uniform Crime Reporting Incident-Based Survey",
Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Policing Services Programme,
"Standardized Police Training & Data Collection on Hate-Motivated Crime",
Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, November 2006.
"Training Guide for Hate Crime Data Collection: Uniform Crime Reporting",
United States Department of Justice. Criminal Justice Information Services
42 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
NGOs supporting victims
NGOs are often uniquely positioned to serve as bridges among police agencies,
community leaders and others. NGOs can also provide direct support for victims,
including by establishing centres for support and counseling. NGOs can provide
victims with the information they need to lodge formal complaints against the
perpetrators of hate crimes and receive compensation and government benefits,
and also provide practical help with medical care and other needs.
Helping Victims to Report Hate Crimes
Many NGOs dealing with hate crimes work hard to eliminate the obstacles that
lead victims to choose not to formally report hate crime incidents. Their work
includes helping to create an environment of confidence in which victims and
their families feel able to file a complaint with authorities without fear of dismis-
sive treatment or reprisal and with a well-founded belief that doing so will do
them and their community some good.
An important issue for NGOs providing victim support is ensuring the best inter-
ests of the victim are respected. This is particularly important when determining
whether a formal complaint is made to authorities, whether the name of the vic-
tim is released to the media, or whether details of an incident are used in advo-
cacy calling attention to hate crimes. After victims are informed of their options,
NGOs should always take into account their wishes in these cases. NGOs should
inform victims about any support services they provide and their collaboration
in broader actions to combat hate crimes.
Many NGOs have 24-hour emergency telephone and Internet hotlines for hate-
crime victims, through which they, their families or their friends can report
hate-motivated incidents and situations in which they feel an attack is imminent.
NGOs can offer advice, a range of counseling and direct support services, and
assistance to victims who wish to contact the police or other local authorities.
In 2008, the Latvian Centre for Human Rights, with European Union funding,
produced a 1 6-page brochure on hate crimes, including information on how to
report them, what legal and practical assistance is available to victims, the issue
of compensation in criminal cases and civil law, and useful telephone numbers
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 43
and addresses. Practical advice includes where to call for medical assistance and
other state services. The brochure explains how to contact the "Skalbes" crisis
and consultation centre — located in Riga — which provides services from
psychologists, psychotherapists, lawyers and psychiatrists. 22
Accompanying Victims to Police or Other Government Agencies
Many victims feel more comfortable in reporting hate crimes to law enforce-
ment and other official agencies if they are accompanied by a person whom they
trust with experience in these matters. Accompaniment by NGO representatives
can help ensure that official bodies treat complainants with respect, record testi-
mony fully and accurately, and observe established procedures. Accompaniment
can also provide victims and their families with the sense of security they need
to approach official bodies and to bring a complaint into the open.
In many cases, NGOs can represent victims in interactions with police and other
public bodies, such as schools or housing authorities. In some cases, where spe-
cific NGOs are acknowledged as "third parties" that can report crimes on behalf
of victims, NGOs may make the initial criminal complaints of hate crimes to
public authorities. NGOs may also represent victims in efforts to secure medical
assistance or compensation for injuries and damage to property. In some coun-
tries, NGOs can also represent victims in proceedings before specialized nation-
al anti-discrimination bodies.
NGOs can also serve as the legal representatives of hate crime victims in crimi-
nal cases, in civil court cases seeking financial damages and compensation, and
in other situations.
In the Slovak Republic, the Bratislava-based League of Human Rights Advocates
(LHRA), a partner of the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), has provided legal
representation for Roma families under continuing threat in Zahorska Ves. In May
2007, five masked men attacked the Sarkbzy family in a makeshift shelter at the
site of the family compound, which was destroyed in a similar attack in 2003. The
attackers reportedly beat members of the family, including a mother and child, with
wooden clubs and iron rods and destroyed their furniture. A Bratislava court affirmed
the right of the family to remain in a temporary shelter on the land in response to a
petition from an LHRA attorney, who provided legal representation to the family. 23
22 Hate Crimes (Riga: Latvian Centre for Human Rights, 2008), <http://www.humanrights.org.lv/upload_
23 See "2008 Hate Crime Survey: Roma and Sinti", Human Rights First, <http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/
44 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
In Spain, affiliates of the Federacion de Asociaciones de SOS Racismo del Estado
Espahol provide free legal assistance in response to racist attacks and other forms of
discrimination, as well as online systems through which complaints can be made.
Complaints are then taken into account in the production of an annual report. In
September 2006, SOS Racismo Catalunya provided legal representation to three
young immigrants from Gambia and a Spanish friend who were attacked by a
large group of young people upon leaving a concert in Barcelona. The four were
subjected to xenophobic verbal abuse and beatings; one of them was hospitalized
in an intensive care unit for five days. 24
In Council of Europe countries, NGOs have represented hate crime victims in
cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights, winning rulings
with important consequences for the protection of human rights in the future,
as well as financial compensation. (See Chapter 8: NGO Advocacy: An Interna-
In the United States NGOs have won large financial awards for hate crime vic-
tims through civil suits against extremist groups.
In many cases NGOs have programmes for medical services, including psycho-
logical counseling. NGOs often refer hate crime victims to other organizations
and assist in gaining access to state health services for medical help.
Advocating for Services
NGOs can be advocates for victims with local government and other govern-
ment agencies in securing social benefits, such as medical care, repair of dam-
aged property, or new housing. In cases in which hate crime victims also face
discrimination in accessing social benefits that should be available to all, NGOs
can seek remedies through direct contact with political authorities, through the
courts and through public campaigns.
NGOs, through support and encouragement, can help victims regain a sense of
confidence in their community and control of their lives. NGOs can help con-
vince governments to give a higher priority to responding to hate crimes and
help convince the public that every hate crime harms the larger society. NGOs
can give each victim a voice and ensure that this voice is heard.
Community Support for Victims
Community members can contribute to reducing victims' sense of isolation by
showing their support for victims. Organizing community members to write
24 "Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region - Incidents and Responses: Annual Report for 2007", OSCE Office for
Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, October 2008, p. 16, < http://www.osce.org/odihr/item_ll_33850.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 45
letters of support or to send donations to victims is an effective way to make a
community statement against hate. Victims often need monetary assistance to
pay for costs incurred as a result of the crime, including medical bills, lost wages
and repairing or replacing damaged property. It is sometimes possible to partner
with local media outlets to publicize the method for sending donations or letters
Meeting with Victims: Listen, Validate, Refer
When victims turn first to NGOs, the NGO response will often determine
whether they will subsequently report the crime to law enforcement or other
agencies. The first meeting between an NGO representative and a victim can be
crucial. NGOs with extensive experience in dealing with hate crime victims have
developed some basic guidelines to ensure that victims are dealt with in a way
characterized by respect, sensitivity and practical utility. These guidelines form
the basic norms for interviews with hate crime victims.
There are several basic elements to take into account by NGOs when victims
come to them to report hate crimes, as set out below.
It is important to meet with victims soon after the hate crime occurs, for a num-
ber of practical reasons:
• Victims may need immediate assistance, including medical treatment,
repair of damaged property and new housing;
• Victims' memories about the details of hate crimes will be clearer the
sooner they are interviewed; and
• Some perpetrators of hate crimes continue to commit hate crimes and
increase the level of violence if they are not identified and apprehended.
Beginning an investigation soon after a hate crime is committed increases
the chance that the perpetrators can be stopped before they attack again.
Explain and Refer
NGO representatives should explain at the outset of the first meeting who they
are, what they can and cannot do, and what others can do. Being clear about the
limits of what can be done and not raising false expectations is essential to build-
ing trust. NGO representatives meeting with victims should, therefore:
• Explain the purpose of the interview and how what is learned will be used
on behalf of the victim;
46 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
• Explain that the interviewee's name and other identifying details will be
kept confidential unless the interviewee agrees otherwise, such as for use
in an official complaint;
» Explain the various forms of support that are available, both directly from
the NGO and from other private and public agencies;
• Refer the victim of a hate crime to appropriate resources, which may
include counseling, medical care and/or law enforcement; and
• If information gleaned from the interview will be used to combat hate
crimes more broadly, explain how this will be done.
In meeting with victims, it is important to provide a safe space, a trained inter-
viewer and, above all, to listen to the victim. Describing a hate crime is often dif-
ficult and upsetting for the victim, so trained interviewers should conduct the
interviews. Interviewers should ensure that they are in a space in which victims
will feel safe and confident that they will not be overheard. If the person with
whom the victim makes initial contact is not able to conduct an interview, he or
she can let the victim know whom to speak with and, if possible, assist the victim
in contacting the appropriate person.
The most effective way to conduct an interview is to listen to the victim's story
without offering advice. It is, however, completely appropriate to offer verbal sup-
port, such as: "I'm sorry this happened to you" or "No one should have to feel
like this." Document the details of the incident as the victim reports them. (See
below, "Taking Notes".)
NGOs involved in interviewing victims should take into account that one of the
victim's biggest fears is that he or she will not be believed. The response from
the first person a victim reports to may be very important in determining if the
victim continues seeking the assistance he or she needs. NGO staff — as well as
police officers and others — can respond to victim accounts by saying that they
are sorry about what happened. This validates the victim's feelings without pre-
judging the results of further investigation and reassures the victim that he or
she is valued as a person.
A record of the interview is important for subsequent action. It is important to
take handwritten notes of interviews with victims of hate crimes or hate-motivat-
ed incidents. Many NGOs use standard formats for interviews that can facilitate
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 47
note taking as well as ensure that basic information is covered. It is very difficult
to help a victim if an NGO does not have a clear record of what occurred.
Interviewers should keep in mind that it can sometimes be important to record
direct quotations precisely in their notes. These may include particular descrip-
tive phrases used by the interviewee to describe the attack or his or her feel-
ings during or after the attack. Similarly, the interviewee's memory of the pre-
cise words used by his or her attackers before, during or after an attack may be
important to record as a direct quote, without summarizing or paraphrasing. If
the interviewee decides to make a complaint to police or other public authorities,
or decides that elements of the case can be used in media or campaign action,
these statements may be important to have on record.
After interviewing the victim, it is important to prepare a typed interview sum-
mary. This avoids the difficulty that others may have in reading handwritten
Critical Details to Obtain
Interviews of hate crime victims should elicit detailed information about the
incident. The basic elements of who did what to whom, when, where and why are
important parts of the victim's account. Interview records should be kept secure.
Basic details to obtain in an interview include:
• The victim's name and how to contact him or her (this may include an
address and telephone number, or an institution or person in the local
community who can contact the victim);
• The date, time and location of the incident;
• A clear description of what happened and what was said. It is particularly
important to include the victim's memory of exactly what the perpetra-
tors said, including any offensive or degrading language or slurs;
• The impact on the victim, including any physical injuries, loss or destruc-
tion of property and emotional distress;
• The names, addresses and telephone numbers and description of any wit-
nesses to the incident; and
■ Details of any contact with local government or other official bodies to
report the incident or to seek medical or other attention, as well as the
responses of these official bodies.
48 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Interviews should be conducted in private and notes should be kept confidential,
until and unless the interviewee determines otherwise. It is important to assure
victims that their identity will be confidential until they make the decision to
report the attack to the police or other government agencies. Many hate crime
victims are scared that the perpetrators or others will retaliate if they report the
attacks. In some instances, security concerns will mean that you should omit
the victim's name from your handwritten notes and from your typed interview
Preserve Physical Evidence
Victims may describe physical evidence that should be safeguarded for any inves-
tigation of the hate crime incident. For example, any evidence such as a threaten-
ing letter, cans of spray paint used for graffiti, or bricks or rocks thrown through
a window should be preserved. If a victim does provide the interviewer with
physical evidence, it is important to minimize the touching of the item to avoid
contaminating it with fingerprints. If possible, photographs should be taken of
the scene of the hate crime or incident, in particular to show any hate graffiti
and to record damage. Additionally, photographs of injuries are a very important
supplement to medical notes.
Overcome Language Barriers
Interviewing victims or witnesses who do not speak the same language as the
interviewer presents special challenges. It is important to have competent inter-
preters who have been trained in the sensitivities of the interview process and
can be trusted to reflect the actual words of the interviewee. Interpreters should
have the confidence of interviewees. The contact details of interpreters need to
be kept in case of a future trial.
If using bilingual members of the community with no training as interpreters,
the interviewer should ensure they understand beforehand what the process
entails and that they are to faithfully interpret what the interviewee says (without
explanation or other interruption). In some cases, members of the victim's fam-
ily may prefer to interpret for them. In such cases, the interviewer should make
clear that they should carefully interpret the interviewee's own words without
interruption, and that if they wish to add information they can do so in a sepa-
Having children interpret for their own family members should be avoided if
possible. Children who may already be traumatized by an incident may suffer
renewed trauma in translating their family members' accounts of abuse and the
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 49
interviewer's questions. They may also make significant errors when interpret-
ing, including the omission of graphic or uncomfortable details.
NGOs, police officers and others who deal with the victims of hate crimes must
be able to provide appropriate, effective services to culturally diverse communi-
ties and to take into account issues of gender within these communities. Com-
petence in dealing with cultural differences (sometimes called "cultural compe-
tence") is particularly important when addressing hate-motivated crimes.
NGOs and other professionals working with victims of have crimes should have
a basic understanding of the cultural differences that affect how or if a victim
reports a hate crime and whether he or she seeks accesses to support servic-
es. NGOs can then play an important role in encouraging law enforcement and
other criminal-justice personnel to take into account the cultural and gender
differences of groups facing discrimination when dealing with hate crimes. To
this end, many NGOs take part in training police in cultural awareness as part
of training in how to respond to hate crimes. (See Chapter 3: Working with the
Criminal Justice System.).
Community Outreach as Hate Crime Prevention
Outreach means expanding the scope of your advocacy and campaigning by
reaching outward to work with others. For NGOs working on hate crime preven-
tion, this means developing working relations with other NGOs and with social,
cultural and religious groups within the community.
Through outreach, the potential for bringing about change is increased by adding
to the number and influence of people and organizations pressing for the same
goals, by adding the voices of prominent individuals who can lend their own
prestige to pressure for change, and by showing that demands for action to com-
bat hate crimes do not come only from the communities under threat.
If NGOs are to be effective in responding to hate crimes, the communities they
serve must understand their services and trust their organizations. In turn,
NGOs must be able to get accurate, ongoing information from community mem-
bers about hate-motivated incidents and crimes and what should be done about
them. This can be achieved through ongoing outreach to the communities that
are affected by hate crimes. During the immediate crisis of a hate crime, it is
important that community members already know and trust the NGOs and oth-
er organizations providing support services in their area.
Before a hate crime occurs, NGOs should seek to let members of targeted com-
munities know that its staff and volunteers are trained, willing and able to serve
50 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
victims of hate crimes. This can be accomplished by advertising available ser-
vices in printed and electronic media and by developing language-appropriate
materials, or by placing notices in media outlets that are directed at specific com-
munities. NGO staff should also meet with leaders of ethnic, religious and other
groups that are the targets of hate crimes.
Community forums can provide an important venue for the exchange of infor-
mation about hate crimes. NGOs can organize open community meetings,
for example, so as to communicate information about hate crimes, to correct
rumors that commonly surface in the aftermath of a hate crime, and to provide
a safe space for the exchange of views and concerns. In addition, community
meetings can provide a forum through which to share reactions and feelings that
may otherwise contribute to tension. Finally, having representatives from several
different organizations present can reassure the community that the hate crime
response is a co-ordinated effort.
In some community meetings, NGOs and community leaders will want to invite
local officials and representatives of the police. A community forum can provide
an important opportunity for NGOs, law enforcement, local officials and mem-
bers of the community to exchange information and views.
In response to rising hate violence against foreign students in several Russian cities,
youth human rights organizations launched an initiative to expose hate violence
and discrimination targeting foreign students in Russia and to provide practical
tools to assist them. The International Youth Human Rights Movement, Youth
Network against Racism and Intolerance, "Young Europe" international network
and others participated. The"Defending Foreign Students' Rights in the Russian
Federation" programme documented the vulnerability of foreign students and
provided information on line and through public events and briefings to assist
foreign students studying in Russia. These included a hotline and website with
practical safety resources and other awareness-raising materials. The programme
was endorsed by the Federal Ombudsman. 25
"After a Racist Attack: Your Rights and Possibilities", Opferperspektive,
Karen A. McLaughlin, Stephanie Malloy, Kelly J. Brilliant, Cynthia Lang,
"Responding to Hate Crime: A Multidisciplinary Curriculum for Law
Enforcement and Victim Assistance Professionals", Education Development
Center, National Center for Hate Crime Prevention, February 2000.
25 Detailed information is available at the programme's website: <http://www.fs.hrworld.ru/>.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 51
"Psychological Effects of Hate Crime: Individual Experience and Impact on
Community", Latvian Centre for Human Rights, 2008.
52 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Strategies to combat
Hate crime and hate speech are connected. While a direct relationship can rarely
be proven, hate-motivated violence frequently occurs in the context of hateful
speech. Organized hate groups express their views through publications, popu-
lar music, the Internet and public demonstrations. 26 These seek to normalize and
legitimize hate speech and hate crimes.
NGOs can challenge the environment of intolerance created by hate speech.
Awareness-raising, monitoring and educational activities play an important part
but, in some situations, it may be more effective to denounce purveyors of hate
speech or challenge the arguments or claims made by the speakers. In addition,
if comments by political leaders and public officials use prejudices or stereotypes,
NGOs can take action to hold them accountable before public opinion.
Where hate speech crosses the threshold into crime, NGOs can bring legal action
on their own account or to assist others.
Hate Speech and the Law
There is no consensus in the OSCE region on the limits on the freedom of expres-
sion with regard to statements motivated by hatred and prejudice. Some partici-
pating States criminalize only those forms of expression that represent a real
and immediate threat of violence towards a particular individual. In many other
countries, laws criminalize oral, written or symbolic communications that advo-
cate for or incite hatred founded on discrimination. How NGOs respond to hate
speech will depend on the legal provisions of each state.
The right to freedom of expression has been affirmed in international human
rights law, and all OSCE participating States acknowledge this as a fundamen-
tal right. Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) sets out everyone's right to hold opinions without interference and to
26 See, for example, Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region: Incidents and Responses - Annual Report for 200S
(Warsaw: OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, 2009).
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 53
freedom of expression. However, Article 20 of the ICCPR states that "any advo-
cacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrim-
ination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law". 27 Article 4 of the Inter-
national Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
(CERD) also requires states to prohibit certain forms of speech that advocate
racial discrimination. 28
At a regional level, the EU Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia
attempts to add further detail to the issue of what forms of speech should face
sanctions under criminal law.
The interpretation of these obligations differs widely from state to state: Speech
that is subject to criminal sanctions in one country is considered to be protected
by the freedom of expression in another.
The OSCE's position on hate speech has reflected the diversity of views among
its participating States. OSCE Ministerial Council Decision No. 10/05 empha-
sized "the need for consistently and unequivocally speaking out against acts and
manifestations of hate, particularly in political discourse", while recognizing the
importance of balancing respect for freedom of expression with the obligation to
combat discrimination. 29
NGOs can monitor the media for instances of hate speech, while also using the
media to respond to particular cases of hate speech and to advance the fight
against discrimination and hate crime.
Racism and xenophobia and other forms of intolerance in the media, including
the Internet, is subject to national and international legal constraints on dis-
criminatory forms of expression, although national laws differ significantly in
A number of inter-governmental bodies monitor hate speech in the media, with a
view to improved responses through a variety of means. The Council of Europe's
European Commission on Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), in its periodic coun-
try reports, regularly examines the treatment of minorities in the media while
27 "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights", OHCHR website, <http://www2.ohchr.org/eng-
28 "International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination", Article 4, OHCHR
29 See, OSCE Ministerial Council Decision No. 10/05, "Tolerance and Understanding, Promot-
ing Mutual Respect and Understanding", Madrid, 30 November 2007, <http://www.osce.org/documents/
54 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
highlighting the role of both self-regulatory media bodies and media complaints
Election campaigns in which political leaders exploit or incite the xenophobic
fears and prejudices of the electorate through speeches or slogans often provide
the backdrop to violent hate crimes.
In response to such expressions of prejudice, NGOs can press for the application
of political sanctions. The expulsion of political parties from regional political
groupings is one potential sanction some NGOs have advocated. Similarly, ECRI
has encouraged the adoption of legal provisions in Council of Europe Member
States that allow for the withdrawal of public financing for political parties that
promote racism. 30
Hate Speech and Intolerance in Football
Racist and other hate speech is prevalent among spectators in many sports, nota-
bly in professional football (soccer), where racist chants and harassment of play-
ers of minority origin, as well as racist violence, are common. These are frequent-
ly dismissed by police and football authorities alike as simply an extension of the
confrontational culture of football, not to be taken seriously.
NGOs play an important role in combating racism, homophobia and other intol-
erance in sport, including through collaboration in campaigns organized by the
Football against Racism in Sport (FARE) coalition. Football clubs have increas-
ingly faced fines, the suspension of matches, and other sanctions for the racist
behavior of fans, and may also face the loss of government subsidies.
Hate on the Internet: What You Need to Know
Websites and other online environments that propagate racism and other forms
of hate are widespread on the Internet. Hate websites are both disturbing and
destructive. They are disturbing because they disseminate crude messages of
hate, often permeated by violent images and words. The sites are destructive
because they are easily accessible and designed to be compelling in order to
attract new members, especially young people.
Hate on the Internet is also spread through web forums and listserves, which
serve as a vehicle for the daily exchange of racist messages. Hackers some-
times attack the websites of ethnic and religious groups and delete legitimate
30 Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region: Incidents and Responses - Annual Report for 2006 (Warsaw: OSCE Office
for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, 2007), p. 62, <http://www.osce.org/odihr/item_ll_26296.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 55
content, substituting racist and degrading images and statements. Hate-music
sites, which contain songs with hateful and prejudiced lyrics, are available on or
through links in hate websites.
A significant barrier to police in investigating hate sites that appear to violate
hate crime laws is the lack of training on the technical issues involved in identi-
fying who is responsible for hate sites and where those sites originate, and prov-
ing who is responsible for the content. NGOs may be able to supplement police
investigations by providing technical expertise to train police officers on these
Racist and intolerant speech on the Internet has had a causal relationship to hate
crimes. This has included incidents in which hate groups and individuals use the
Internet to identify particular people as targets for violence, to encourage such
attacks, and to disseminate home addresses and other personal information on
the targeted individuals with a view to facilitating these attacks. Explicit instruc-
tions for racist attacks on particular individuals are regularly found on the web-
sites of "skinhead" and other extremist groups, despite legal norms in most coun-
tries that prohibit such direct incitement to violence.
Extremists in the United Kingdom in May 2006 published the name and home
address of a vocal anti-racist worker on several hate websites. After numerous death
threats, the worker was attacked and stabbed in front of his two daughters. He
sustained serious injuries. 31
What can NGOs do?
Monitor the Content of Hate Websites
NGOs that wish to start projects monitoring the Internet can use specialized
software to create databases of hate content. This can be used for research, infor-
mation exchange, comparative work and training. NGOs can also share this
information with police agencies, academics, ombudsman institutions, anti- dis-
crimination units or other NGOs.
Advocate for Removal of Hate front the Internet
NGOs can develop contacts with Internet-service providers and become familiar
with their policies for dealing with hate sites. Then, by monitoring Internet sites,
they can identify content that poses an immediate threat or violates guidelines,
and quickly notify Internet-service providers. This does not supplant the role of
law enforcement agencies where criminal acts may have occurred but, given the
complexity of legal regulation of the Internet, the Internet-service providers may
be more effective in removing the problematic content. In some countries, NGOs
31 Ibid, p. 65.
56 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
have been responsible for the closure of websites dedicated to hate speech. They
have done so through direct intervention with service providers and government
agencies, and bringing legal action.
NGOs have been successful in persuading online authors, owners or Internet-
service providers to remove hate sites and discriminatory expressions from the
Internet, particularly in states with hate-speech laws. NGOs can also offer sup-
port for existing or new NGOs that deal with cyber hate.
In the Netherlands, the Magenta Foundation's Complaints Bureau for Discrimination
on the Internet has succeeded in removing thousands of instances of hate speech
from the Internet since 1997, by sending requests for their removal to authors
or owners of sites containing hate speech. The Netherlands has strong anti-
discrimination legislation, and pointing out the illegality of material to authors or
owners was enough to have them remove the material in 95 per cent of the cases. 32
Comprehensive guides to education on the problem of cyberhate for parents,
teachers and students have been developed by NGOs and are available on the
web. NGOs can play an important role in providing training and educational
materials against cyber hate:
• For law enforcement: NGOs can provide educational materials and train-
ing to police and prosecutors in skills and techniques for investigating
hate crimes involving the use of the Internet;
• For parents: NGOs can provide advice and train parents how to recognize
and assess problematic websites, how to transfer this knowledge to their
children and how to monitor what sites children log onto. NGOs can dis-
tribute "filters" to parents that block access to hate sites on their home
• For teachers: NGOs can provide advice on how to talk about cyberhate
and how to develop students' critical-thinking skills, which will allow
them to ask appropriate questions about the validity of information on
• For students: NGOs can provide young people with information on the
dangers of cyberhate, how to recognize and assess discriminatory mate-
rial, and what can be done against it.
32 See http://www.meldpunt.nl/ (In Dutch).
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region
The United States-based youth hate prevention coalition Partners Against Hate
published the manual "Hate on the Internet: A Resource Guide for Educators
and Families"to equip parents, educators, librarians and other members of the
community with tools to help young people recognize and deal with hate on the
Brian Willoughby, "10 Ways to Fight Hate on Campus: A Response Guide for
College Activists" Southern Poverty Law Center, 2004.
"101 Ways to Combat Prejudice: Close the Book on Hate", Anti-Defamation
Ellen Hofheimer Bettmann, Lorraine Tiven, Building Community and
Combating Hate: Lessons for the Middle School Classroom (Washington,
DC: Partners Against Hate, 2004).
"Combating Racist Crime and Violence: Testimonies and Advocacy Strategies",
European Network Against Racism, May 2009.
"Hate on Display: Extremist Symbols, Logos, and Tattoos - Revised and
Updated", Anti-Defamation League, 2003.
Lorraine Tiven, Hate on the Internet: A Response Guide for Educators and
Families (Washington, DC: Partners Against Hate 2003).
"Let's Fight Racism Together! Handbook for Minority Activists in Ukraine =
Preodoleem rasizm vmeste! Informatsionnoe posobie", (Kiev: Social Action
"Peer Leadership: Helping Youth Become Change Agents in their Schools and
Communities", Partners Against Hate, July 2002
Deborah A. Batiste, Program Activity Guide, Helping Youth Resist Bias and
Hate: A Resource Guide for Parents and Educators of Middle School Age
Children, (Washington, DC: Partners Against Hate, 2003).
Michael Wotorson, Program Activity Guide: Helping Children Resist Bias and
Hate (Washington, DC: Partners Against Hate, 2001).
Jim Carnes (ed.), Responding to Hate at School: A Guide for Teachers,
Counselors and Administrators (Montgomery, AL: Southern Poverty Law
Matthew Collins (ed.), Gerry Gable, (ed.), "Signs of Hate", Searchlight
Information Services, 2003.
Kenneth S. Stern, "Skinheads: Who They Are & What to Do When They Come
to Town", AJC, 1990.
Jim Carrier, Richard Cohen, (ed.) Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community
Response Guide, (Montgomery, AL: Southern Poverty Law Center 2000).
33 "Hate on the Internet: A Response Guide for Educators and Families", Partners Against Hate, December
58 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Caryl Stern-LaRosa, Ellen Hofheimer Bettmann, The Anti-Defamation League's
Hate Hurts: How Children Learn and Unlearn Prejudice, a Guide for Adults
and Children (New York: Anti-Defamation League, 2000)
"Turn It Down Resource Kit", Center for New Community, 2002.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 59
The NGO role in raising
awareness and lobbying
One approach to improving the reporting and recording of hate crimes is to
increase public awareness that these are serious crimes against which effective
action can be taken.
The analysis and dissemination of data and information on hate crimes can be
powerful advocacy tools with both government and specialized institutions. The
latter includes national specialized anti-discrimination bodies, such as equal-
opportunity commissions or anti-discrimination ombudsmen. Many of these
specialized bodies play an important role as advocates for change to legislation
and policy in their areas of responsibility. Some are also mandated to consider
individual cases. A list of relevant specialized bodies and ombudsman institu-
tions in the OSCE region can be accessed on ODIHR's Tolerance and Non-Dis-
crimination Information System (TANDIS). 34
The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) is an EU-wide network of more than
600 organizations that works to combat racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and
Islamophobia in Europe. ENAR produces annual "shadow reports"on countries in the
region that include developments concerning hate crimes. These are described as
efforts "to fill the gaps in the official and academic data, to offer an alternative to that
data and to offer an NGO perspective on the realities of racism with the EU and its
Member States". ENAR publishes a weekly summary of developments in the region
— the Weekly Mail — on its website. 35
The Public Response to Hate Crimes: Involving the Community
The increased awareness of hate crimes and their consequences in a community
can generate a public response to hate-motivated incidents that helps to combat
hate crime. The following paragraphs set out useful tools for raising awareness:
34 See <http://tandis/index.php?p=qu-sp,list>.
35 See <http://www.enar-eu.org/Page_Generale. asp?DocID=15291&la=l&langue=EN>.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 6i
Public Forums and Campaigning
NGO campaigning and advocacy use a wide range of public forums. These range
from street demonstrations and public meetings to conferences and round-table
discussions, from concerts and theatre productions to "information fairs" and
multicultural food festivals. The venues for public events range from schools and
public buildings to neighbourhood community centres, town squares and foot-
Using Memorable Dates
National and international campaigning is frequently organized around certain
memorable dates, including annual days and weeks dedicated to action against
discrimination. In many countries, days of action or commemorations are based
on their own national history and experience.
The UNITED for Intercultural Action network stimulates and co-ordinates a wide
range of local activities in all European Countries for the annual commemoration of
9 November, the anniversary of the 1938 pogrom known as"Kristallnacht".This has
been recognized as the International Day Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism. 36
National and international conferences can be important opportunities for NGO
members to meet other NGO activists and independent experts. Conferences
can also provide a forum in which NGOs can meet on more or less even terms
with representatives of governments and specialized agencies. Conferences may
also help NGOs draw the attention of the media and public opinion to hate crime
In July 2006, the Russian Federation hosted the G8 Forum and a parallel Civil G8
Forum, in which national and international NGOs met to discuss human rights and
other international issues. NGOs presented recommendations from round-table
discussions in a session with then-President Vladimir Putin, and then presented them
to the G8 Forum. NGOs presented proposals to combat hate crimes at a round table
on extremism, migration, racism and xenophobia. A day-long meeting hosted by
Russian NGOs brought together representatives of other national and international
NGOs after the conclusion of the Civil G8, taking advantage of their presence in
Moscow for a frank exchange of views, concerns and practical experiences. 37
36 See, for example, "International Day against Fascism and anti-Semitism on 9 November, Statement by
Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe" Council of Europe website, <https://wcd.coe.int/
37 See the Civil G8 website at <http://www.civilg8.ru/> and the ICARE Special Report on the Civil G8 at
62 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Using Film and Video
NGOs in many countries have effectively used film and video for community-
based campaigning, teaching and raising awareness. This has ranged from the
preparation of short announcements for broadcast on television (sometimes
called "public-service announcements") to international film festivals highlight-
ing particular problems of discrimination. In some countries, media companies
will agree to broadcast short audio and video materials produced by or for NGOs
that address issues of concern to the community. NGOs should press for this
kind of access to the media.
In Spain, the Movement against Intolerance regularly holds events in which film
and video on human rights and antidiscrimination themes are shown, followed by
discussions. The NGO provides practical training in radio broadcasting through the
creation and broadcast of radio programmes on the themes of violence, racism and
intolerance, "with the participation of immigrants, refugees and ethnic minorities".
Advocacy tools include short video messages for television. Links to these and to
public broadcast materials are provided on their website. 38
Museums and Exhibitions
In some countries, NGOs and civil society have established museums commem-
orating the suffering caused by discrimination and hatred in the past. Muse-
ums of this kind increasingly use photographs, video and modern information
technology to devise interactive exhibits through which children can explore
issues of tolerance and equality. They provide important venues for discussions
of issues of discrimination and tolerance education.
Children's drawing competitions are frequently sponsored as part of anti-racism
and anti-discrimination campaigns. As part of the 2008 "Football Against Racism"
campaign in Ukraine, Lviv football supporters sponsored an anti-racism drawing
competition for schoolchildren. 39
Rallies and Demonstrations
Public events such as rallies, demonstrations or vigils can provide a powerful, vis-
ible community response to hate crimes or incidents. Because these gatherings
are usually held outdoors in well-traveled public spaces, they are often attended
by individuals who may not otherwise be reached by outreach efforts.
38 See Zona Multimedia (in Spanish) at <http://www.movimientocontralaintolerancia.com/html/audiovi-
39 See Football Against Racism in Europe, http://www.farenet.org/default. asp?intPageID=2.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 63
On 13 June 2008, a march was held in Rome to protest the "scapegoating" and
persecution of Roma in Italy. The march brought together members of diverse
communities in what was said to have been the first protest of its kind in Italy.
Participants included Roma, Italian intellectuals and Jewish survivors from Nazi
death camps, wearing "the same black triangle bearing the letter Z as worn by Gypsy
inmates at the camps". 40
An important consideration in regard to public events is whether their partici-
pants will be safe. In some communities, public gatherings may turn violent if
skinhead or other groups with an agenda of hate attend. In other communities,
police may feel that a public event poses a threat and attempt to stop the rally or
vigil from occurring through arrests or other means.
NGOs can reduce the risk of violence by providing prior notification to police
and local authorities (and obtaining prior approval if this is required). In some
cases, organizers may want to formally request police protection to address the
risk of violence from skinhead or other groups. Some NGOs both minimize the
risk of violence and promote police involvement in community affairs by inviting
senior police officers to participate as speakers in public forums on hate crimes.
Vigils are events at which people gather to contemplate a particular event or
situation. They are usually held at night, often with participants holding candles,
and can serve as a form of protest to increase community awareness and to bring
people together. Vigils can serve the purpose of commemorating and honouring
hate crime victims who have been killed or injured, and can be a powerful way
to build a supportive, tolerant community in the aftermath of a disturbing hate-
motivated incident or crime. Often, inspirational texts are read out at vigils; in
some cases, the names of victims are read out.
Sport and Sporting Events
NGOs have been an important part of efforts to combat racism and relat-
ed intolerance in sport, with the involvement of sport stars, teams, and team
In many countries, football clubs and leagues are committed to highlighting an
anti-racism week through events, information campaigns and ceremonies at
major matches. In Sweden, for example, a campaign was organized by the Swed-
ish players' union at a series of matches around the theme "Give Racism the Red
Card". Flyers were distributed with information about the campaign to an esti-
mated 135,000 spectators, while a short video was shown during the pre-game
40 Tom Kington, "We won't be Berlusconi's scapegoats, say Gypsies," The Observer, June 15, 2008, <http://
64 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
ceremonies to provide information about the campaign, at which time players
held up Red Cards. 41
Europe-wide activities organized in conjunction with the Union of European
Football Associations (UEFA) included a campaign in conjunction with the Euro
2008 championship "to promote and convey the positive message of fighting dis-
crimination in and outside the stadiums". FARE was also involved in monitor-
ing discrimination at games, while a "multilingual hotline" and email address
was available to report racism and discrimination. A television spot entitled
"Different Languages, One Goal: No To Racism" was produced for broadcast dur-
ing the playoff season. 42
Community Action against Vandalism and Graffiti
Vandalism is one of the most common hate crimes, and can result in the expen-
sive clean-up and repairs of personal or community property. Organizing a com-
munity clean-up of hate graffiti can unite people around a common task that is
practical, as well as a symbolic action against hate. Likewise, if an individual's
residence has been burgled or a church's windows have been broken, local lock-
smiths or carpenters can be enlisted to donate services to change locks or replace
In Lodz, Poland's second largest city, an annual clean-up of racist and anti-Semitic
graffiti has been held since 2000, in a tradition begun by a group of journalists
and local political leaders. In 2007, the "Colorful Tolerance" campaign began with
a demonstration in front of city hall in which teenagers held up photographs of
examples of anti-Semitic graffiti from around the city. Students, teachers, journalists
and others then moved throughout the city to paint over graffiti on schools,
storefronts, homes and city buses. The campaign has been strongly supported by
Lodz's mayor and deputy mayor. 43
NGO partners that work in coalition can collaborate closely in developing poli-
cies, positions and advocacy strategies and tools for change in combating hate
Advantages of Working in Coalitions
Coalitions demonstrate broader public interest in the problem of hate crime
beyond the targeted victim groups.
41 See Football Against Racism in Europe, op. cit.
43 "Polish teens protest anti-Semitic graffiti," JTA website, 15 March, 2007, <http://jta.org/news/arti-
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 65
Different coalition partners may have their own specific relationship with or
access to particular decision makers. For example, religious institutions or reli-
gious leaders may have a relationship with police, governmental agencies or the
media that an NGO does not have.
Coalitions often begin with NGOs and community groups. They can sometimes
expand to include representatives of police agencies, government officials and
others with whom ongoing collaboration is important. Coalitions engage in dif-
ferent levels of co-operation, from information sharing and networking to col-
laboration on specific projects and advocacy.
In many cases, coalitions are created to combat problems of discrimination and
violence in particular environments or that affect particular groups. The prob-
lem of hate crime violence in schools, for example, can be addressed through
broad coalitions that incorporate organizations from the education, child pro-
tection and other sectors.
An informal coalition supporting new federal hate crime legislation in the United
States in 2008 included 28 state Attorneys General, leaders of the nation's major
police organizations and over 300 national law enforcement, professional, education,
civil rights, religious and civic organizations, showing how civic organizations and
official groups can work together against hate crimes. 44
In Uzbekistan, 26 Protestant congregations co-operated in publishing an open
letter in June 2008 protesting media attacks that named individual religious leaders
and churches. The letter said that'garbled facts, aggressive attacks, lies and slander"
were used to encourage intolerance and hatred towards members of religious
Tips for Coalitions
One of the purposes of hate crime coalitions is to develop goals based on the
needs of the diverse communities they represent. An important first step in
forming a coalition can be to identify a concrete objective around which groups
that may have different missions or agendas can unify. This can build motivation
and a sense of empowerment on the part of members to set intermediate, attain-
able goals at the outset. Marking even limited successes towards the longer-term
strategic aim of the coalition can help boost the group's credibility, morale and
44 For a complete list of participants, see Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, "LLEHCPA 2009 - Endors-
ing Organizations," http://www.civilrights.org/hatecrimes/llehcpa/organizations.html>.
45 See "Hate Crime Survey: Religious Intolerance: Uzbekistan", Human Rights First, <http://www.human-
66 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
For a coalition to function smoothly, it is important to establish clear mecha-
nisms for gathering input, making decisions and selecting leadership.
Who to Include in a Coalition
Since the make-up of the coalition and its leaders will impact its effectiveness and
determine how well it can manage conflicts that arise, it is important to map out
clearly the needs of the coalition and assess the strengths, shared interests and
potential liability of including possible partners.
When forming a coalition, NGOs can initially partner with a small number of
other NGOs and community leaders of ethnic, religious and other groups. The
initial partners often serve as the nucleus of the coalition, so it is important to
identify leaders who are trusted in their communities and who can marshal a
commitment to the issue. Prominent leaders can help raise the profile of the
coalition, but it is also important to get the support of those who will be making
a day-to-day effort to collaborate. In some cases, NGOs can reach out broadly
to youth organizations, civic organizations, schools, social clubs, labor unions,
business associations and specific government officials.
Working with the Media
Working with the media can be an effective means both to disseminate accurate
information about hate crimes and to send a clear message that hate crimes are
unacceptable. In addition, the media can give prior publicity about community
events that are organized in response to a particular hate-motivated incident or
In areas where a vibrant, free and independent media does not exist, NGOs will
need to carefully develop a communication strategy to ensure the dissemination
of accurate information about hate crimes. One approach is to work with inter-
national NGOs or foreign reporters. Information that is published or broadcast
internationally may have a significant audience, even in areas where the local
press is neither free nor independent of the government.
Whenever NGOs seek press coverage, it is important to first determine what
the core message will be. If several members of an organization or a coalition
are working with the media, it is important that they each consult in putting the
core message into words beforehand and in delivering a consistent message to
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 67
Gaining Media Attention
There are several routine methods for NGOs to obtain press coverage:
• Press releases: Press releases can provide detailed information to a wide
range of media outlets about events and the release of reports, or informa-
tion needed by a community after a hate crime or incident. Press releases
can allow NGOs to circulate a comprehensive, consistent message with-
out having to engage in an overwhelming number of interviews or direct
contacts with reporters. For a press release to reach a broad audience, an
NGO will need a good list of media sources, with e-mail addresses, espe-
cially including the media most important to a particular community;
• Contacting individual reporters: When an opportunity for media coverage
arises, NGOs can contact individual reporters and provide them with
details about the story. While it may be simplest to contact reporters with
whom the NGO has previously developed relationships, it may sometimes
be even more effective to branch out and contact other individuals whose
reporting indicates that they may be willing to cover a particular event
• Making NGO leaders and well-known supporters available for press com-
ment: In addition to NGO representatives, others who are well known and
respected in a community should be made available to speak to the media
about issues or events. NGOs can organize press briefings in which media
can meet leading community or religious figures, sport personalities or
others who support their efforts;
• Editorial boards and publishers: In many newspapers, decisions on editorial
positions are made by an editorial board, comprised of editors and other
staff of the paper. Many editorial boards will meet with NGOs and con-
cerned citizens to discuss their papers' editorial positions. Similarly, some
publishers are willing to meet with NGOs and others to discuss concerns
about their newspapers' coverage of issues.
• Press conferences: Press conferences can be an effective way to obtain press
coverage that allows an NGO to gather and inform a group of media rep-
resentatives all at once. In most cases, this requires significant advance
planning to ensure attendance, including the notification of many media
outlets and specific journalists as to the date and time. It is important to
choose an appropriate location for these events: The site of the hate crime,
a well-known venue or in front of a courthouse or government building
are all options. Sometimes attendance can be increased by the participa-
tion of a high-profile supporter of the NGO, such as a sport and enter-
tainment personality or a top community leader. Often, press conferences
and press briefings are held at the offices of an NGO. It can be useful to
68 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
distribute a press release at a press conference, to ensure that journalists
have easy access to and clear language on the main points being set out
Education and Training
Education is a valuable tool for preventing and responding to hate-motivated
incidents and hate crimes. There are many ways to provide education about hate
crime issues, including community workshops, programmes with teachers, stu-
dents and other youth, training for professionals and informational campaigns
for the general public.
Some communities have organized educational campaigns after hate crimes have
been committed that involved training local business people, educators and/or
service providers on the basics of responding to hate crimes in their community.
In some cases, people who completed the training were invited to place a "hate-
free zone" sticker or flyer in the window of their business, classroom or office to
show that they are opposed to bigotry and hate crimes.
Community workshops can both increase awareness about the extent and impact
of hate crimes and provide practical strategies for intervening in situations in
which hate is being expressed. If community members are educated about low-
key ways to address hate, they may prevent that hate from escalating into a hate
Working with Youth
Hate crime monitoring and reporting shows that youth are all too often involved
in hate crime both as victims and perpetrators. As a consequence, working with
youth is a vital part of any hate crime prevention strategy.
Youth education regarding hate crimes often occurs in schools and universities.
This is facilitated by the identification of students who have social influence in
diverse populations in the school to be trained as student leaders. Once these
students have been trained, they can be involved in working with the larger stu-
dent population to raise awareness about prejudice, harassment and hate crimes.
Student leaders can sit on panels to discuss the issues of prejudice in their school
and strategies for low-key intervention. Students are the most powerful influence
on their peers. If a school can direct that influence towards the prevention of
prejudice, harassment and hate crimes, it will move the school's climate towards
one of respect and safety.
NGOs and education authorities have worked closely in many countries to devel-
op and implement programmes to teach tolerance. The Council of Europe has
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 69
developed teaching materials for its campaigns "All Equal - All Different" and
"Dosta!" (on the Roma and Sinti), which have been used effectively by NGOs. 46
One common form of hate crime violence and intimidation in schools is bully-
ing, in which students alone or in groups harass and physically attack others. The
target groups for bullying might in some cases include groups who are often the
targets of hate crimes. In many countries, anti-bullying campaigns have been
organized in which student groups, with support from NGOs, school adminis-
trators and local authorities, address the problem of bullying.
In the United Kingdom, the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) includes 65 organizations
and promotes a range of anti-bullying programmes, from the preparation of anti-
bullying lesson plans for teachers to the annual observance of a national Anti-
Bullying Week. Participants from hundreds of United Kingdom schools took part
in the Anti-Bullying Week events of 17-21 November 2008, with the theme "Being
different, belonging together". ABA members such as Actionwork provide anti-
bullying materials for campaigning in the United Kingdom and internationally. The
Actionwork website provides examples of no-cost and low-cost activities schools
and students can organize, as well as access to videos, posters and other materials
for campaigns. 47
NGOs from Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom are partners
in an Internet-based peer-mediation project called "avatar@school". This is an
online environment for teenagers in schools throughout Europe and other parts
of the world to co-operatively deal with bullying and victimization as "true-to-life
characters in real conflict scenarios". The system uses game scenarios and role play to
prevent violence amongst young people through peer mediation. 48
In Georgia, in collaboration with the"UNITED we are Strong!"campaign
commemorating "Kristallnacht" the "21 st Century" Union, an NGO, organized
seminars, discussions and competitions with pupils in different cities in Georgia in
Training for Professionals
Training for professionals in hate crime prevention and response can also be
used to begin the process of coalition-building. Training can cover the particu-
lar aspects of hate crime response and prevention most relevant to those being
46 See, for example, "International Day against Fascism and anti-Semitism on 9 November", op. cit.
47 See Anti-Bullying Alliance E-Bulletin, No. 7, July 2008, Anti-Bullying Alliance website <http://www.anti-
buHyingalliance.org.uk/downloads/pdf/aba_e_bulletin_july_2008.pdf>; Anti-Bullying Week website, <http://
www.antibullyingweek.co.uk/>; and the Actionwork website, <http://www.actionwork.com/>.
48 See the Avatar@school website, <www.avataratschool.eu>.
49 See the United for Intercultural Action website, <http://www.unitedagainstracism.org/>.
70 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Police agencies, social-service providers, teachers and health care professionals
are all groups that can benefit from hate crime prevention and response work-
shops, because professionals in these fields are likely to interact with both vic-
tims and perpetrators of hate crimes.
Training of Trainers
After providing hate crime prevention training to professionals, the next step
can be training professionals to provide hate crime prevention workshops for
others in the community. These programmes should include complete, up-to-
date hate crime response and prevention information, as well as information and
practice sessions about workshop presentations.
Dr. Robin Oakley, Combating Hate Crime in Latvia and the Czech Republic: A
Comparative Assessment (Riga: Latvian Centre for Human Rights, 2008).
Anhelita Kamenska, Ilze Brands-Kehris, Combating Hate Crimes in Latvia:
Legislation and Police Practice (Riga: Latvian Centre for Human Rights,
"Free2choose: The Boundaries of Freedom", Anne Frank House, 2006.
"From Hate Crimes to Human Rights: Blueprint of the Coalition Europe's
Campaign on Hate Crimes Coalition Europe", Coalition Europe, 2006.
"How to Combat Bias and Hate Crimes: An ADL Blueprint for Action", Anti-
Defamation League, 2004.
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 71
NGO advocacy: an
NGOs may seek support from a number of specialized bodies in their advocacy
efforts. These include the political bodies of international organizations (inter-
governmental organizations), bodies created to oversee the implementation of
human rights and non-discrimination treaties (treaty-monitoring bodies), and
other specialized bodies. NGOs are free to submit information to most of these
bodies, some of which are mandated to review submissions on behalf of indi-
vidual victims of human rights abuses. NGOs may also turn to these bodies for
support with capacity and network building. In some cases, NGOs may turn to
specialized bodies such as the European Court of Human Rights to seek legal
remedies for victims of hate crimes.
Inter-governmental organizations or institutions that are of particular impor-
tance for NGOs working to combat hate crimes include the Organization for
Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe Commissioner for
Human Rights and the European Union's Fundamental Rights Agency.
Many of these organizations co-ordinate international conferences and work-
shops related to hate crimes, tolerance and non-discrimination. NGOs that par-
ticipate in such conferences may advocate directly with government representa-
tives and the representatives of specialized agencies and give public resonance
to issues through the media. In such international settings, NGOs often work in
coalitions to amplify their message. In raising concerns about hate crimes with
inter-governmental organizations, it is important to show that not only represen-
tatives of the group under attack are speaking out.
The OSCE organizes an annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
(HDIM) in Warsaw to review the implementation of a broad range of OSCE
human dimension commitments, including the promotion of tolerance and
the protection of the rights of national minorities. The HDIM lasts 10 working
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 73
days and is attended by representatives of OSCE participating States, NGOs and
international organizations and institutions.
Rules for participation in the HDIM are particularly "NGO-friendly", providing
NGO representatives with opportunities to distribute written submissions and
to participate in conference discussions. It is the only human rights conference
in Europe in which representatives of civil society take part with governments
on an equal footing.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution within the
Council of Europe, mandated to promote awareness of and respect for human
rights in the 47 Council of Europe member states.
The objectives of the Commissioner for Human Rights include promoting educa-
tion about and awareness of human rights, identifying legislative gaps concern-
ing human rights and facilitating the activities of national ombudsman institu-
tions and other human rights structures. The Commissioner regularly conducts
official country visits, reporting on the national human rights context and pro-
viding recommendations for the improved protection of human rights.
The Commissioner works with a wide range of institutions, including civil soci-
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
FRA is a body of the European Union based in Vienna. The agency provides
institutions and authorities of the EU and its Member States with assistance and
expertise relating to fundamental rights. FRA collects and publishes data and
information on issues of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance through its
European Information Network on Racism and Xenophobia (RAXEN) National
Focal Points (NFPs) covering all EU Member States.
FRA engages with a number of stakeholders, including NGOs, and co-ordinates
the Fundamental Rights Platform 50 , a network of civil society actors dealing with
a wide range of human rights issues.
Treaty Monitoring Bodies
A number of international human rights treaties establish committees of experts
to monitor their implementation. NGOs may, in some circumstances, assist indi-
viduals who believe that their rights under a relevant treaty have been violated by
a State Party to submit complaints to such bodies.
50 See the "Fundamental Rights Platform" page on the FRA website at <http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/civil_
74 Preventing and responding to hate crimes
Treaty-based bodies are often mandated to receive reports from States Parties
regarding the steps they have undertaken to implement certain conventions. It
is common practice for NGOs to draft and submit "shadow reports" to treaty-
monitoring bodies to highlight or present supplemental information that may
be missing in the reports from States Bodies. NGOs may, for example, include
information about a state's record on hate crime prevention and response in such
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
CERD 51 is the treaty-based body of independent experts that monitors imple-
mentation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimi-
nation by its States Parties. States Parties to the Convention are required to sub-
mit regular reports to the Committee outlining how CERD-protected rights are
being implemented in their respective countries.
CERD is also mandated under particular circumstances to receive complaints
or communications from individuals who claim that their rights have been vio-
lated by a State Party to CERD. Complaints may be submitted by an individual or
group of individuals. Complaints may also be brought by third-party represen-
tatives, provided that they have provided written consent from the person they
are representing or if special circumstances make it impossible for that person
to give such consent.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)
The ECHR was established under the European Convention on Human Rights to
monitor and enforce the respect of human rights by States Parties. All 47 mem-
bers of the Council of Europe are parties to the Convention.
In certain circumstances, NGOs may seek legal redress before the European
Court of Human Rights on behalf of victims of hate crimes who believe that their
rights or freedoms under the European Convention on Human Rights have been
violated. While hate crimes are criminal acts committed with a bias motive, the
European Court of Human Rights has recognized that states have a positive obli-
gation to investigate the potential racial motivations of crimes. 52
In Bulgaria, for example, lawyers acting for the European Roma Rights Centre, in
co-operation with Sofia's Human Rights Project, represented the mother and wife
of a Roma victim of racially motivated murder in a case before European Court
of Human Rights. The Court found that the authorities had failed to conduct an
51 See the "Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination" page on the OHCHR website, <http://
www2. ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/index. htm>.
52 Nachova and Others v Bulgaria, (App no 43577/98 and 43579/98), Judgement of 6 July 2005, para-
graphs 160-168, <http://www.echr.coe.int/Eng/Press/2004/Feb/ChamberJudgmentNachovaandothersvBul-
A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE region 75
effective investigation into a racially motivated killing. 53 The case concerned the
race-related killing of a Roma man on 18 April 1996 in Shumen, Bulgaria, and
the subsequent investigation. The Court held that Bulgaria was responsible for
breaches of the procedural aspect of the right to life (Article 2), in conjunction
with the prohibition of discrimination (Article 14). 54
The rules of the Court permit individual applications against States Parties for
human rights violations. However, domestic remedies must be exhausted before
approaching the Court. All decisions by the Court are legally binding on mem-
ber states and must be complied with.
Human rights defenders can contact European Union diplomatic missions for
support when under threat. In June 2004, the Council of the European Union
adopted practical guidelines for action in support of human rights defenders.
These promote the role of EU missions in supporting and protecting human rights
defenders and provide for intervention for those at risk. 55
Shaw, Margaret, "Preventing Hate Crimes: International Strategies and
Practice", International Centre for the Prevention of Crime, April 2002.
53 Angelova and Iliev v Bulgaria (App no 55523/00), Judgement of 26 July 2007, <http://www.ius.info/EUII/
54 Ibid, and "Strasbourg Court Sanctions Bulgaria for Failure to Bring Perpetrators of Racist Killing to Jus-
tice," European Roma Rights Centre, 6 August 2007, <http://www.errc. org/cikk.php?cikk=2854>.
55 See "Ensuring Protection - European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders", Council of the
European Union website, http://ue.eu.int/uedocs/cmsUpload/GuidelinesDefenders.pdf. NGOs can also con-
tact the UN's Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, <http://www2.ohchr.org/english/
76 Preventing and responding to hate crimes